Kitzbühel has been a bustling town of bike action this week, having hosted a stage of the Austria Tour on Monday. As age groupers and elites prepare to conquer the 11.5km climb that features gut wrenching gradients upwards of 22 percent, we caught up with pro cyclists Jesse Sergent and George Bennett to get their thoughts on climbing Kitzbühel Horn.
Go big or go home
“It was long, slow, steep. It doesn’t get any easier second time up so it’s going to be fun watching on Saturday,” Bennett said.
This ain’t Gotham City
“I saw a few people who thought they were heroes attack at the bottom and then they just dropped their anchors out the back at the finish. One guy, superhero, attacked at the bottom full gas, dropped me. I came passed him a couple kilometres later. By the time the rest of the boys got passed him, he was on the side of the road with his head on his bike, stopped, having a little moment.” - Bennett
Get in the right gear
“I went up there trying to save my legs. 38 by 28 is definitely not a gear you can ride up there in and save your legs. I had to go a bit harder than I wanted to in certain parts of the climb. There are also a couple of parts that flatten off a bit, but it’s still probably 5 or 8 percent. But it feels flat after 15-20 percent. Other than that there’s no recovery. It’s full gas. I’d say 34 by 28 is a good gear.” - Sergent
When you want something done, do it yourself
“You can’t draft. I didn’t have any good intensity and didn’t draft off of anyone. You can only go as fast as you can go. It doesn’t matter if you have 10 guys in front of you.” - Bennett
Measure the bike
“There’s no finish, no coming back. If you have a power meter, ride to that. It’s so easy to chuck out 400 watts because you feel good. But you’ll know pretty soon you can’t do that for more than a couple of kilometers. Then you’re down in 200 range and then 100 watts and then off your bike. Maybe don’t even do the transition. Start your run a bit early and run up there.” - Bennett
Enjoy the ride
While Sergent offered a few small words of encouragement, Bennett promised you won’t enjoy the climb. But not to worry, we say all the gain is in the pain.