Retired pro cyclist Alberto Contador is still among the best climbers in the world, even in retirement.
The 37-year-old Spaniard, whose palmares includes seven overall grand tour victories at the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, and the Vuelta a España, just set a new Everesting record of 7:27:20, beating the mark set by Lachlan Morton of 7:29:57 set on June 21st.
Contador recorded his 148-kilometer effort in Strava, in which he covered a 950-meter segment called ‘Silla del Rey’ with an average grade of 13 percent 78 times. His effort was then confirmed by Hells 500, the group that oversees the Everesting challenge.
The Silla del Rey climb that Contador selected for the challenge is adjacent to the Navacerrada Pass, a section of road barely three meters wide, but reported to have good road conditions. This segment tops out at nearly 20 percent grade.
In order to set the Everesting record, Contador’s effort included descending the same stretch of road at speeds approaching 96kph.
Contador said in a statement that this effort was part of a bike-testing protocol. He is preparing to launch his own brand of bicycles, Abikes, and wanted to road test them. He was urged by fans to take on the Everesting challenge as part of the pre-launch testing.
“These are days of hard work, preparing the launch of the bike, which is very close. We wanted to test some materials and also check their behavior in very specific environments, hence the boundary. The other day we were joking about achieving the challenge and a lot of comments encouraged us to do it. When we downloaded and compared the data, from the Everesting challenge website we were confirmed that the challenge had been overcome,” Contador wrote.
In a tweet after his record-setting attempt, Contador expressed gratitude for fans’ encouragement, as well as being happy that the madness was over, after riding for more than seven hours to complete the 8,848 meters of climbing. Unlike other pros who have recently set Everesting records, El Pistolero commented on how “nice an experience” this was for him, and invited his fans to join in for the next go at this climbing challenge.
With racing on hold since March, Everesting has become a popular — if not brutal way — for pro cyclists to stay in shape.
In early July, retired pro Emma Pooley set the women’s Eversting record of 8:53:36.
Lachlan Morton (EF Pro Cycling) attempted the Everesting challenge twice in one week in late June. After his first attempt was determined to be unofficial, he made a second go at it just a few days later to take the Everesting prize.