Creators of heroes, providers of make-or-break moments in both one-day and stage races, scene-setters for famous victories or doomed attacks – the signature climbs of cycling’s most historic races occupy a truly special place in the sport.
Bucket list regulars for the aspiring amateur, for the professionals the ‘cols’ that litter the races of cycling’s elite UCI WorldTour are cherished and feared in equal measure.
In 2013, we were treated to action on some of the world’s most famous ascents, with the three Grand Tours in particular each boasting heavily mountainous parcours.
Be it battling the treacherous snow-swept Dolomites in the Giro d’Italia, seeking a special place in Tour history on the climbs that punctuated its centennial edition, or contesting one of the most mountainous Vueltas in recent memory, there was no shortage of opportunity for riders hoping to leave their mark on cycling’s most brutal slopes.
We’ve rounded up ten of the best in the following pages, encapsulating a season of brutal ascents from the three-week races of summer and the Classics of spring and autumn.
Do you agree with our selection? Are there any iconic slopes we’ve missed? Which of those listed have you experienced? And how tough were they? Join the debate below, or in the RCUK Forum. The only way is up.