The Mont Ventoux is without a doubt one of the most famous mountains in Europe. Although only 1912 meters high ,
the Ventoux rises up as a giant amidst the beautiful surrounding countryside of Provence .
Located on the last Alpine ridge near the Rhone valley, you can see Mont Ventoux from almost anywhere in the Vaucluse - Provence .
For many, the giant of Provence is also the highlight of a trip through this beautiful region in southern France . Its isolated location gives the mountain something gigantic and dominating and if the weather is clear, you can, from the top, see the Alps in the east, the Cevennes in the west and the Mediterranean Sea to the south.
Although not too often climbed in the Tour de Mont Ventoux is one of the topcols in France and abroad. The best professional riders do the 21 km from Bédoin in just an hour or a ' VAM ' ( velocità ascensionale media or vertical meters per hour) of 1600 meters. The better amateurs do it in less than two hours, or an average of just over 10km/uur . But everyone is free to do the climb. Just one advice: come prepared or you will see black snow instead of white stones !
The most difficult side up is via Bédoin (official start from the roundabout D974), although according to some The Malaucène side is just as difficult or even more. Training is possible from Sault, by far the least heavy side. The Bedoin side is also the most famous side because it was most often climbed in the Tour de France. It is, Consequently, also the side where most of the drama took place. On 13 July 1967, British cyclist Tom Simpson died on the flanks the Ventoux. One can visit the statue at about 1.5 km from the summit.
The Bedoin side starts simple, almost in silence , among the vineyards where the grapes ripe for the local wine. On your left You can, if the weather is clear, see the top with the typical Dairy Cow pin of the weather station. Take a good look, because once in the forest, past the famous St. Estève bend, you won't see it anyomore for well, about an hour or so. Before that time, you should have consumed a minimum of energy because for the next 10 km, you will need it very much. In the forest, the Ventoux almost never goes below 9 % and never gives you time or place to recover .
Once the Chalet Renard reached, the toughest part is behind you, unless ... you're unlucky and the wind is blowing in your face for the rest of the ascent amidst a moonscape landscape, unprotected by trees. The Mont Ventoux name means "windy mountain", and some cyclists know why : the local and Transmontana Mistral wind can blow here at 150 km/h. But if you're lucky and there's little wind, the zone past the Chalet Renard will give you time to recover with human gradients of 5-7 % and some curves of only 3%.
Take advantage of this, for the last few kilometers, the Mont Ventoux will hit you back in your face. The last 1.5 km is again at 10 % and it will still take a supreme effort before you can show off at the top of the Ventoux and enjoy the "view plane". 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
Profile : 43y, 73kg, 178cm, km this year 700, total km last 10 years maybe 2000 (the good days are over, for now), speciality: running
Bike, a decent 15 year old alu frame with cheap wheels, gearing 39-25, MTB shoes.
Was looking to repeat the 2nd route I started with friends 5 years ago but didn''t remember which it was so ended up alone in Bedoin after a warm up from lovely Venasque (the Abbaye de Senanque seemed too far away for my current legs).
Probably set out too fast not having read the profile or believing those 9% parts could last so long. It was pretty hot with not much wind so it didn''t take long before the handlebars were soaked with sweat.
All my rides this year bar 2 have been 10-45km and dead flat, one was 70km and with a few hills, the other 30k and hilly with 2km at 8-9% (and chain stuck on 52 cog) so knew my back would suffer as it always and after 45 minutes I had to stand every minute or 2 to relieve the pain. Breathing calmed after Chalet Renard prob. due to tiredness that set in, took me around 1h37, may try again with more training
I was using this forum to prepare myself mentally for the climb.
My passion is Mountainbiking and my toughest achievement was an western Alp crossing 2008. After that goal was reached I went slower ...,means investing less time in training for motivation, work and private issues.
The Ventoux was a new challenge to get somehow back in the mood and it did its job.( I am still cycling around 3-4000 km per year, am 44, 188cm tall and 90 kg (took some weight :-(( ) I did it in 2:20 hrs.
The climb is exactly as described before. The comments and additions of the forum posters are all correct.
So I can only add some of my personal experience:
It was a hot afternoon(31 degrees) when i started after coming back from holidays from Spain. Tired, nervous, not enough sleep etc... not the best condition.
Go steady, find your rythm and don''t ever try to go to fast..... rythm , the right cadence and your hrm are your only friends. The climb is steep, the sun burns your back, and you will get no relief till you reach Chalet Renart..... After that the climb feels becoming more steep, even that my grade meter didn''t tell so, so assume my legs getting tired. After you pass the Tom Simpson memorial,the (for me) toughest part began.
Can anyone direct me to a website? I''m after the grey Mt Ventoux T Shirt.
I think the climb has become mythological to cycling and probably partly due to the death of Tommy Simpson; myths and reality are not always coherent.
Everyone is entitled to choose their own bench marks but to suggest that anyone should climb with professional gear ratios is not realistic unless you are capable of turning the pedals at professional cadence. Watch the pros go up the Ventoux and see what they’re turning. 70,80?
To climb the Ventoux in 1 hr 49 mins (Grant Taylor with presumably with 39/25 gearing) is nothing to be ashamed of but why choose to make it harder than necessary? His cadence will have been close to 50 with the assumption that he arrived at St Esteve in a reasonable time (15 mins?). 39/23 gearing would be a cadence of +/-47
So, select your gearing to obtain a more efficient cadence 60 to 70 and the ride will be easier and probably quicker than climbing with too higher gearing for your physical ability.
Another myth buster?
Mont Ventoux from Bédoin in 3D, on Googleearth!
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