Mont Ventoux - The Giant of Provence


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Mont Ventoux (1909m)


Probably the second most famous climb in the world after the Alpe d'Huez, the Mont Ventoux is a magnet for cyclists throughout the summer.

Named the windy mountain, the Mont Ventoux stands over 1,600 metres or a vertical mile above the Provence countryside. The most famous ascent is from Bedoin, a quiet town on the south side of the mountain. This is the side the Tour de France and Dauphine Libere use when riding the mountain. There is also a difficult northern ascent from Malaucene with the easiest ascent from Sault.

The mountain became famous on the 13th July 1967 when the British cyclist Tom Simpson rode himself to exhaustion on the slopes and died. There is a memorial to Tom Simpson on the southern side of the mountain, just over one kilometre from the summit.

From Bedoin, the climb can be incredibly hot at the bottom. The gradient is steep and there are no hairpins on which to recover. Once the Chalet Reynard has been passed with six kilometres to the summit, the Mistral wind, which helps gives the mountain it's name can come into play and can buffet a cyclist all over the road. The seven percent gradient can feel more like 15 percent. From the Mont Ventoux, there is an incredible panorama with views in every direction.

Open the diary pages See June 2000 --- August 2002

 

Northern Ascent

Start town :

Malaucene

Starting Altitude : 340 metres
Distance : 21 kilometres
Vertical Climb : 1550 metres
Gradient :

7.2% average - 11% maximum click to view

Comments :  

Southern Ascent

Start town :

Bedoin

Starting Altitude : 300 metres
Distance : 22 kilometres
Vertical Climb : 1610 metres
Gradient :

7.1% average - 11% maximum click to view

Comments : This is the ascent used by the Tour de France.

Eastern Ascent

Start town :

East - Sault (765m), 26km, D1210m

Starting Altitude : 765 metres
Distance : 26 kilometres
Vertical Climb : 1210 metres
Gradient :

4.5% average - 10% maximum click to view

Comments :  

 

Click to view image The view from one of the many vineyards underneath the Mont Ventoux.
Click to view image Riding towards the Mont Ventoux after leaving Bedoin.
Click to view image The view from St Esteve as the road gets steeper, with about ten kilometres to the Chalet Reynard.
Click to view image One of the many kilometre stones on the climb.
Click to view image The first view towards the Mont Ventoux after passing the Chalet Reynard.
Click to view image Four kilometres to the top of the Mont Ventoux.
Click to view image The barren landscape on the Mont Ventoux.
Click to view image The memorial to Tom Simpson, with just over a kilometre to the summit.
Click to view image The view when riding the final 500 metres of the climb.
Click to view image The view down the climb from the final hairpin.
Click to view image The view from the final hairpin when climbing from Malaucene on the northern ascent.
Click to view image Looking down the northern side of Mont Ventoux towards Malaucene.
Click to view image The descent towards Bedoin on the Mont Ventoux race track.