Ultimate climbing guide, part 1: gearing:
Interestingly, the next day, in the hill climb time trial to Chamrousse, Armstrong adjusted his gearing to suit the conditions, like Hampsten did in the example at the start of this post. According to John Wilcockson, Armstrong felt that the 23 on Alpe d’Huez had been too low (oh to have that feeling!) but the 21 a bit high. So for the time trial he fitted a 12-22 cassette so that his lowest gears were 22-21-20-19, thus keeping the ratio difference at around 5% between each gear. Whether it was this gear change, his high cadence style, or the familiarity he had with the course after scouting it out before the Tour, we won the stage and took another minute out of Ullrich. He would, of course, go on to win his third Tour in a row that year.
[I climbed like a lead weight today…. in a 34/32 combo. Sigh. I tell myself that next time will be better, I’ve been off the bike for a while, and other things to sooth my shattered cyclist soul. None of which will get me climbing in a 39×23…]
Source: le grimpeur