The Mont Ventoux is without any doubt one of the most famous mountains in Europe. While only 1912 meters high,
it rises out of the splendid surrounding landscape of the Provence.
Situated on the last Alpine ridge against the Rhone-plateau, the Mont Ventoux can be seen from almost anywhere
in the Vaucluse, Provence.
The giant of Provence therefore is therefore the culmination of any journey through this wonderful region in southern France. It's isolated position gives the mountain something gigantic and dominating and if the weather is clear, you can see from its top the Alps to the East, the Cévennes to the West and Meditteranean Sea to the South.
Although only occasionally climbed in the Tour, the Mont Ventoux is one of the topcols in France and beyond. The best professional riders do the 21 km from Bédoin in just below one hour or a"VAM" (velocità ascensionale media or vertical heightmeters per hour) of 1600 meters. The better amateurs in below two hours or with an average of just over 10km/hour. But anyone is free to do the climb. Just one advice: come prepared or you'll see black snow instead of white stones!
The heaviest side up is via Bédoin (official start from the roundabout D974), though, according to some, the Malaucène side is equally heavy. Exercising can be done from Sault, by far the least heavy side. The Bédoin side is also the most famous side because it is the approach that was most often taken in the Tour de France and, consequently, also the side where most drama took place. On July 13 1967, the British cyclist Tom Simpson died on the flanks of the Ventoux. One can visit the statue at about 1,5 km from the top.
The Bédoin side starts easy, almost in silence between the vineyards where the local wine finds its origin. To your left, you can, if the weather is clear, see the top with the typical white red pin of the weather station up there. Take a good look, cause you wont see it for quite a long time once you enter the wood after the famous St. Estève bend. Till this point, you should have spent only a minimum of energy, cause the next 10 km, you'll need all of it. From this point on, the Ventoux hardly ever goes below 9% and gives you no time or place to recover.
Once, you reach the Chalet Renard, you did most of the job, unless... you're unlucky and have the wind blowing in your face for the rest of the ascent, unprotected by trees, amidst a lunar (lunatic?) landscape. The name Mont Ventoux means "windy mountain", and some cyclists know why: the local Mistral and Transmontana winds can blow at 150 km/hour here. But if you're lucky, you can recover after the Chalet Renard on human grades of 5-7% with some bends at only 3%.
Take advantage of this, because the last kilometers, the Mont Ventoux will again hit you in the face with his last stones. The last 1,5 km are again at 10% and will require another huge effort before you can flaunt on top of the Ventoux and enjoy the "airplane view". Congratulations!
The Mont Ventoux is situated in Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur
and belongs to the
Massif des Cèdres
Starting from Bédoin,
the Mont Ventoux ascent is 21.4 km long. Over this distance, you climb 1639 heightmeters.
The average percentage thus is 7.6 %.
Look for other sides to climb the Mont Ventoux.
Since 2005, the Mont Ventoux will be/was climbed in the following big tour stages:
Tour de France 2013 : Givors - Mont-Ventoux on 14/07/2013
Tour de France 2009 : Montélimar - Mont Ventoux (Etappe du Tour 2009) on 25/07/2009
Mont Ventoux from Bédoin in 3D, on Googleearth!
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