Arrived in Le Tour after being arguably the strongest climber of Giro d'Italia (where he finished second behind Contador), Riccardo Ricco didn't hold back when he announced his targets for La Grande Boucle: epic stage wins both in the Pyrenees and in the Alps.
At the foot of the Pyrenees, the Cobra already had one stage win under his belt (the super uphill sprint at Super-Besse). But like the French saying "l'appétit vient en mangeant", Riccardo Ricco wanted more. The stage 9, 224 km in length and with the legendary cols, Peyresourde and Aspin on the route seemed very tempting for him. At the foot of the last one, the peloton was still around seventy riders strong, allowing Riccardo to save energy on the first easy part of the ascent.When they hit the first difficult section, him and his collegue, Leo Piepoli made a big selection, only a few being able to follow. Basically, a warning shot by Saunier Duval. The next few kilometers, the pace of the peloton slowed down, allowing riders like Sandy Casar, Vincenzo Nibali or a certain Kenyan, Christopher Froome to attack. All in vain. With less than 5 km to the top, Riccardo Ricco placed his ferocious, well-planned attack. His hands in the drops, the head always up, the Cobra flew through the escapees up the road. Nobody could follow the devastating attack. Exhibiting his beautiful climbing style, he slowly but surely opened a big gap on all of his rivals, enough to win the stage in the valley, in Biggore. At the top of Col d'Aspin, Ricco also set a new all-time record for the ascent. He was in the top of the world in those moments.
While his frightening attack will always remain as proof of unbelievable climbing speed, the overall performance wasn't monstrous and that's why the record set by him on Col d'Aspin is far from being untouchable for the future.
2008:12 km@6,5%---29:18---average speed 24.57 km/h(Riccardo Ricco)-RECORD