Tour de France: watch out for those Sheffield hills!

See also my page: Sheffield Hills

The end of Stage 2 of the 2014 Tour de France is an ascent of Jenkin Road in Sheffield. Here’s what cycling journalist Matt Westby says about this hill: “Sheffield’s Jenkin Road may not have the glamour of the great climbs of the Tour de France, but what it lacks in aesthetics, it more than makes up for in brute difficulty. Indeed, the Tour will have seldom have encountered anything quite as steep as its 33 per cent maximum gradient. The climb comes 5km from the end of the stage and is only 800m long, but the ramp is so severe and arrives so late in the day that it will provide the perfect platform for last-gasp and potentially stage-winning attacks. The riders will also be moving at a near crawling pace here as they battle the ludicrous gradient…”

The statistics on Jenkin Road are as follows: average gradient 11.2%; maximum gradient 33.0%; length 0.8km; height 136m; vertical gain 94m; km 193 (source: Cycling Stage).

So, Anaemic On A Bike reckons she can bag it but the real question is, can Cavendish? 😉

What’s more, Jenkin Road isn’t the only beast of a climb in Sheffield. A review of Sheffield’s steepest hills (Hagg Hill, Blake Street, Jenkin Road, Myrtle Road, and Kent Road) by Robin Lovelace of Now Then concludes: “Taking ‘the highest average gradient over 100 metres of horizontal distance’ as my definition, I looked at Ordnance Survey data only to find that all the hills mentioned (except for Myrtle Road) were about the same: a ~20% gradient over their steepest 100 metres. Hagg Hill may just have the edge. Measure it over a 500 metre stretch, however, and the deceptive Myrtle Road would probably win.”