Greatest mountain heroes, in alphabetical order.
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  • Jacques Anquetil (January 8, 1934–November 18, 1987), "Monsieur Chrono" (FRA) ARTICLE
  • Lance Armstrong (September 18, 1971), "Mellow Johnny" (USA) 
  • Federico Bahamontes (July 9, 1928), "The Eagle of Toledo" (ESP) ARTICLE
  • Gino Bartali (July 18, 1914May 5, 2000), "Il Pio" (ITA) ARTICLE
  • Alberto Contador (December 6, 1982), "El Pistolero" (ESP) 
  • Fausto Coppi (September 15, 1919–January 2, 1960), "Il Campionissimo" (ITA) 
  • José Manuel Fuente (September 30, 1945–July 18, 1996), "El Tarangu" (ESP) 
  • Charly Gaul (December 8, 1932–December 6, 2005), "The Angel of the Mountains" (LUX) 
  • Luis "Lucho" Herrera (May 4, 1961), "El Jardinerito" (COL) ARTICLE
  • Bernard Hinault (November 14, 1954), "Le Patron" (FRA) 
  • Lucien Van Impe (October 20, 1946), "De Kleine van Mere" (BEL) 
  • Miguel Indurain (July 16 1964), "Miguelón" (ESP) 
  • Julio Jiménez (October 28, 1934) "La Pulga de Ávila" (ESP) ARTICLE
  • Greg LeMond (June 26, 1961), "Le Mondster" (USA) 
  • Eddy Merckx (June 17, 1945), "The Cannibal" (BEL) 
  • Luis Ocaña (June 9, 1945–May 19, 1994), (ESP) 
  • Marco Pantani (January 13, 1970–February 14, 2004), "Il Pirata" (ITA) 
  • Rene Pottier (June 5, 1879January 25, 1907), "Butcher" (FRA) ARTICLE
  • Andy Schleck (June 10, 1985), "Skinny Schleck" (LUX) 
  • Gilberto Simoni (August 25, 1971), "Gibo" (ITA) ARTICLE
  • Richard Virenque (November 19, 1969), "Ricco" (FRA)
Nation list:
Spain 6; France 4 and Italy 4; Belgium 2  Luxembourg 2, and USA 2; Colombia 1.

Vote for the greatest climber of all time:

Cyclist Card #1 Federico Bahamontes

Bahamontes was one of the most consistent climbers in the history of the Grand Tours.

Bahamontes was a climbing specialist to whom reporters gave the nickname the Eagle of Toledo.

He rode in a distinctive upright style, staring ahead, his shorts pulled high on his thighs, his hands repeatedly changing position on the handlebars.(see also

He was the first rider to win six mountains jersey competitions in the Tour de France (1954, 1958, 1959, 1962, 1963, and 1964).

Bahamontes won the Mountains Jersey twice in the Vuelta a Espana (1957 and 1959). In addition, Bahamontes shared the Mountains Jersey prize with Charly Gaul and M. Del Rio in the 1956 Giro d’Italia. (see also

Bahamontes was the first rider in history to win the Mountains Jersey in all three Grand Tours.

The most famous myth was that Bahamontes had once attacked on an Alpine mountain pass so that he could have time to eat an ice cream at the top, and the reality is only slightly more mundane.

"One of my wheel spokes broke halfway up, so I attacked so the repairs could be carried out at the top without me losing time," he explains. "But the team car carrying the spares got stuck behind the main bunch, so I bought an ice cream to pass the time." (

Cyclist Card #2 René Pottier

A memorial stone of Rene Pottier (in Ballon d'Alsace)
Rene Pottier, “the first king of the climbers”, dominates the 1906 Tour from start to finish.

His reputation as a fierce climber came on the first ever ascent of the Ballon d'Alsace in 1905.

Pottier was the only rider to finish the climb of the Ballon d'Alsace without walking any part of the mountain.

1906 Tour de France

Stage 3: Sunday, July 8, Nancy - Dijon, 416 km

Major Ascent: Ballon d'Alsace

1. René Pottier: 15hr 18min 41sec
2. Georges Passerieu @ 47min 52sec
3. Marcel Cadolle @ 47min 56sec
4. Lucien Petit-Breton @ 48min 29sec
5. Emile Georget @ 1hr 18min 29sec
6. Alois Catteau @ 1hr 18mn 30sec
7. Jean-Baptiste Dortignacq @ 1hr 18min 31sec
8. Augustin Ringeval @ 1hr 18min 32sec
9. Pierre Privat @ 1hr 23min 44sec
10. Hippolyte Aucouturier @ 2hr 54min 19sec

(for more details, plase see: bikeraceinfo)

Pottier's joy in his wonderful victory was short-lived. On January 25, 1907 a Peugeot team mechanic found him hanging from a hook used to hold his bicycle. His brother Andre claimed a failed love affair pushed this intense Frenchman over the edge. It was said that Pottier despaired after learning that his wife had engaged in an affair while he was riding the Tour.

Cyclist Card #3 Gino Bartali

Gino Bartali was born in Ponte a Ema, Florence, Italy, 18 July 1914. He was a war hero and a champion road cyclist. He won five Grand Tour titles including the Giro d’Italia three times and the Tour de France twice. His second and last Tour de France victory in 1948 gave him the largest winning gap in the race, over 26 minutes.

Gino Bartali (
Although nicknamed “Gino the Pious”, Bartali was ruthless on the road. Early in his career, two famed Italian sprinters tried to box him in at the finish of a road race. Instead of going around them, he rode right between them, causing all three to crash in a bloody mess. After that, no one tried to box in Gino.

Bartali was a good climber and a pioneer of derailleur gears. He won the mountains jersey competition in the Giro d’Italia a record seven times. His style was unusual: he rarely danced on the pedals and often stayed in the saddle throughout a 15 km climb. When others attacked, he stayed in the saddle but changed up gear, to a sprocket three teeth smaller. He rode smoothly on mountains but every now and then freewheeled, always with his right foot lowered with his weight on it. Then a second or two later he would start pedalling again. See more:

Bartali was the first rider to win the Tour de France overall title and mountains jersey in one year, 1938. He repeated the same feat ten years later in 1948, the year in which he won seven stages. Winning in 1948 was for him a simple formality. Not only was he the best climber, at the age of 34, but he was also the fastest man on the flat. Ten years after his first Parc des Princes lap of honour he rode another with the victor's bouquet. Gino could feel really proud, for he had won seven stages! And he won them in the heroic manner of the legendary giants of yesteryear Tours. He took the opening stage, then two in succession entering the Pyrenees, then a great climax of three successive Alpine stages.

Bartali's rivalry with Fausto Coppi divided Italy. Bartali, conservative, was venerated in the rural, agrarian south, while Coppi, more worldly, secular, innovative in diet and training, was hero of the industrial north. Bartali's long standing battle with Fausto Coppi resulted in epic physical struggles in the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France, Milan-San Remo, and Tour of Lombardy.

The movie "Gino Bartali – L’intramontabile" follows Gino Bartali’s life as one of the great Italian Cycling Champions. Gino Bartali and Fausto Coppi were the two main Italian protagonists of the 40's and 50's. The cyclist's personal lives were followed closely since they were on the same level as movie stars in Italy.

Gino Bartali died of a heart attack Florence, 5 May 2000. The prime minister, Giuliano Amato, sent condolences. Romano Prodi, president of the European Commission, called him "a symbol of the most noble sportsmanship." The Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) called two days of mourning and silences were observed before sports events.

Cyclist Card #4 Gilberto Simoni

2007 Giro: Simoni and Piepoli on Zoncolan (
Gilberto Simoni was born in Palù di Giovo, Trentino, Italy, 25 August, 1971. He is two-time Giro d'Italia winner. He also holding the fastest time at Monte Zoncolan climb: impressive 39min 05sek. In my opinion, that is a record that will last forever.  

Simoni confirmed his potential as a road cyclist in 1993, when he won Girobio (also known as Baby Giro), which is the most important race on Italy's amateur calendar and it is considered the amateur version of the Giro d'Italia.

The list of Girobio winners is impressive. It includes great riders like Francesco Moser, Marco Pantani, Gilberto Simoni, Leonardo Piepoli and Danilo Di Luca.

Simoni turned professional in 1994 with the Jolly Componibili-Cage 1994 team. In 1997 Simoni won his first professional race. However, early years of his professional career were not filled with success. In 1998 he even had a short break from cycling and worked as a bicycle mechanic for 1984 Giro d'Italia winner Francesco Moser.

In 1999 Simoni joined the Ballan-Alessio team in 1999 and finished a surprising third on the general classification of that year's Giro d'Italia.

In 2001 Simoni took his first victory in Giro d'Italia. Following his Giro victory Simoni moved to the Saeco Macchine per Caffè-Longoni Sport team with the objective of repeating his Giro success of the previous year. 

In 2003, the Saeco team came to the Giro d'Italia with the only purpose of supporting Simoni to win the race. After impressive fights with Stefano Garzelli, Yaroslav Popovych and Marco Pantani in the high mountains in extremely challenging wheather conditions (hailstorms, etc.), Simoni cemented his second Giro d'Italia victory. 

In 2007 Giro d'Italia (stage 17) Gilberto Simoni takes his second victory on Monte Zoncolan. The 35-year-old Simoni crossed the line on the Monte Zoncolan ahead of team-mate Leonardo Piepoli to repeat his success of 2003, when the riders had come up the other side of the mountain.

The 2010 Giro d'Italia was the final race of his career. He finished 69th overall, 2:40:14 behind Ivan Basso. Simoni was characteristically frank about his last bid for glory, which emotionally saw him beaten in the sprint for the Cima Coppi KOM prize by the Swiss Johann Tschopp, at the summit of the Passo di Gavia in the second last Giro stage. Mobbed at the finish line by Italian media looking for one final quote from a rider who rarely hesitated to speak his mind, Simoni said:

"Perhaps if I'd played more of a bluffing game, I might have had something left for the finish but never mind. That's bike racing. I'm just glad the Giro is over. I've had enough now."

Cyclist Card #5 Julio Jiménez

Julio Jiménez
Julio Jiménez was born in Ávila, Spain, 28 October 28, 1934.

Before he turned professional Jimenez repaired watches in Avila, Spain. Thus, he was nicknamed El relojero de Avila - ‘The watchmaker of Avila.’

During his racing career, Jimenez captured six King of the Mountains jerseys - 3 in Vuelta a España and 3 in Tour de France.

Vuelta a España

1963 King of the Mountains
1964 King of the Mountains
1965 King of the Mountains

Tour de France

1965 Mountains classification
1966 Mountains classification
1967 Mountains classification

As we all know, Col du Tourmalet is one of the greatest climbs in the history of cycling. It has appeared 81 times in the Tour de France. Julio Jimenez won Col de Tourmalet stage three consecutive times:

1967 – Julio Jiménez – Spain
1965 – Julio Jiménez – Spain
1964 – Julio Jiménez – Spain

Althogether, Jiménez took 28 victories during his career, no less than 21 of them at summit finishes.

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