Conquering Harrat Uwayrid, The Toughest Kilometer in Professional Cycling
Harrat Uwayrid is a mountain pass at an elevation of 1,226m (4,022ft) above sea level, located in AlUla, Al Madinah Province of Saudi Arabia.
Where is Harrat Uwayrid?
Situated in the Hejaz region, the city of Al-Ula was an ancient Arabic oasis. The climb, also known as Skyviews of Harrat Uwayrid, offers stunning views of the city.
Why is Harrat Uwayrid famous?
In the middle of the desert, a race has been taking place since 2020 where cyclists pedal against the wind and sand, facing cold nights and scorching daytime heat. Without high altitudes but with a climb that possibly has the toughest section of the World Tour circuit. The summit hosts a parking lot and countless communication towers.
How steep is Harrat Uwayrid?
Harrat Uwayrid, with gradients of up to 22%, pushes cyclists to their limits, both in their legs and their hearts. "It's brutal. It's a little over 10 minutes of climbing, but your heart feels like it's about to burst, especially if you're competing for the overall," explains Davide Formolo, second-placed in a recent Saudi Tour. The climb is something tremendous. Even cars suffer on that climb. It's truly worth seeing. Is it the toughest kilometer in professional cycling? The ascent leading to the finish at Skyviews of Harrat Uwayrid, a biosphere reserve, covers 2.5 km at an average gradient of 12.8%, and it's in its initial part where the real challenge lies: 1 km at an average of 17.1% and peaks around 22%. In the mentioned short distance, riders will have to overcome a little over 400 meters of positive elevation gain. A veritable wall.
How long is Skyviews of Harrat Uwayrid?
The road to the summit was recently paved. Starting from Winter Park Visitor Center, the ascent is 16.1 km (10 miles) long. It features 4 hairpin turns.
Pic: Mahmoud Alhashem