Road Velo List: Top 10 descenders of all time Going downhill on two wheels is more complex than simply letting gravity take over. Here are 10 of history's most skilled bike-handlers Share this Facebook Icon Twitter Icon Email Icon Join VeloNews.com Create a personalized feed and bookmark your favorites. Join for free Already have an account? Sign In Join VeloNews.com Create a personalized feed and bookmark your favorites. Join for free Already have an account? Sign In It's often difficult to compare champions from different eras. The dynamics of racing have changed over the decades, as teams, salaries, and the demands of modern racing have forced changes in how top riders focus their season. Long gone are the days when riders like Sean Kelly and Eddy Merckx would race an entire season, intent on trying to win every race they started. Road conditions have also improved dramatically from the early days of the sport, when the first alpine climbs and descents were on dirt roads. Today's traffic furniture on urban streets has created new hazards that previous generations never faced. Technological changes have also made important advances in how cyclists race, something that's especially true when it comes to descending. Today's pros race on stiff, lightweight frames, better tires, and more responsive wheels that handle the demands of descending beyond the wildest imaginations of riders from previous generations. A good descender, however, remains eternal. And one of the best to emerge over the past generation is Spanish rider Samuel Sánchez. Now 35 and in the twilight of his career, "Samu" quickly earned the reputation as one of the best descenders in the bunch. Born and raised on the rain-slicked mountain roads of Spain's Asturias region along the wet northern Atlantic coast, Sánchez said it was his experience with motorcycles that helped sharpen his descending skills. "My father was a big fan of motorbikes, and I used to ride a lot as a teenager," Sánchez said. "The skills are similar between the motorbike and the bicycle. You must accelerate through the corner, pushing your weight into the bike. And I am accustomed to wet roads.” One of Sánchez's first big wins came when he attacked off the harrowing Monachil descent in the 2007 Vuelta a España, catching the attacking Manuel Beltrán, winning one of three stages to secure the first of three career grand-tour podiums. His descending skills found a worldwide audience in the 2011 Tour, when he blasted down the Galibier, helping him snag the King of the Mountains jersey that year. Watch the Galibier descent Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com Don't miss a moment from Paris-Roubaix and Unbound Gravel, to the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France, Vuelta a España, and everything in between when you join Outside+.