Visit climbbybike's special website, dedicated to the Mont Ventoux.
If you're in the neighborhood or at least, at less than a mile or 50, you'll see him lying there. Like a sphinx turning at a tempting angle, ready to be... climbed.
The attraction of the Mont Ventoux is indeed enormous. During a holiday in the beautiful Provence, in the evening with a nice rosé from the neighborhood, plans are made that are bigger than what the legs can handle the next day. At least, if one is a less trained or even untrained cycling tourist. But why not? At least you know what it means to climb one of the toughest cols in France and the Tour. And maybe you'll come back better trained next year...
To climb the Mont Ventoux a minimum amount of training is definitely required. Unless you want to stand alone helplessly in the scenery of the forest, your bike as your last support. A pick-me-up for the others who climb whistling past you. No more. Still going to the chalet or back down with your tail between your legs? An illusion poorer.
Although more and more cycling enthusiasts want to climb Mont Ventoux, fewer and fewer cyclists suffer the fate mentioned above. Via websites such as Climbbybike, everyone is nowadays sufficiently warned and enough kilometres were cycled on the home front anyway to "get to the top". And that is quite an achievement! Not everyone weighs 60 kilograms or has 15,000 kilometers in their legs.
Although only occasionally climbed in the Tour, the Mont Ventoux is one of the top climbs in France and far beyond. The best professional riders do the 21 km of Bédoin in just under an hour or at a 'VAM' (velocità ascension media or altimeters per hour) of 1600 meters. The better amateurs take less than two hours or an average of just over 10km/hour. But everyone is free to do the climb. But as already mentioned, only one advice: come prepared or you will see black snow instead of white stones!
The heaviest side-up is via Bédoin (official start from the D974 roundabout), although, according to some, the Malaucène side is equally heavy. Practice can be done from Sault, by far the least heavy side. The Bédoin side is also the most famous side because it was climbed most often in the Tour de France. It is therefore also the side where most drama took place. On 13 July 1967, the British cyclist Tom Simpson died on the flanks of the Ventoux. One can visit the statue about 1.5 km from the top.
The sound of crickets
The Bédoin side begins gently, almost sweetly, between the vineyards where the grapes for the local wine ripen in the midst of the continuous chirping of the crickets. On your left, when the weather is clear, you can see the top with its typical white-red pin of the weather station. Take a good look, because once you enter the forest past the famous St. Estève bend you will have to miss this view for a long time. Up to this point, you should only have used a minimum of energy, because the next 10 km you will need it well.
Once in the forest, the Ventoux barely goes below 9% and never gives you time or space to recover. Here the chaff is separated from the wheat and the corpses are picked up. Through the forest you hardly get an impression of the gradient of the road. Outside a chicane in the beginning, the road usually goes straight on with a slight bend. At the only, beautifully carved hairpin bend it gets really steep. Take the outside bend to relax a bit. It keeps on rising and waiting for that stretch of... 8%. Then it's back up to 10%. Where's that Chalet Renard? Some holiday chalets among the trees are a good sign. You're almost there. On the right the D164 joins your route together with some big cycling boys from the eastern Sault. Do they know what climbing is?
Cycling on the moon
Once the Chalet Renard is reached, the toughest part is over, unless... you're unlucky and the wind hits you in the face for the rest of the climb in the middle of a lunar landscape, unprotected by trees. The name Mont Ventoux means "windy mountain", and some experts know why: the local Mistral and Transmontana winds can be up to 150 km/hour here. But if you're lucky, after the Chalet Renard you can recover at human rates of 5-7% with some turns at just 3%.
Take advantage of this, because the last few kilometers Mont Ventoux will hit you in the face again. The last 1.5 km will go back at 10% and will take another extreme effort before you can show off at the top of the Ventoux and enjoy the "plane view" of the peaks of the Alps in the east, the Cévennes in the west and the Mediterranean Sea in the south. There you are. Congratulations! You were there.
The Mont Ventoux is situated in Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur.
This climb belongs to the Massif des Cèdres.
The Mont Ventoux via Bédoin is ranked number 1 of the Massif des Cèdres.
The climb is ranked number 31 in France and number 261 in the world.
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 %.
The maximum slope is 12%.
If you want to climb the Mont Ventoux, you can find more information on how to train to climb the Mont Ventoux here.
Since 2005, the Mont Ventoux will be/was climbed in the following big tour stages:
Tour de France 2021 : Sorgues - Malaucène on 07/07/2021
Tour de France 2016 : Montpellier - Mont Ventoux on 14/07/2016
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 via Bédoin popularity rank : 1
Mont Ventoux via Bédoin: 159 reviews
I did this with some bike mates two days in a row in 2006 in early September from Bedoin. There was no wind, and very warm. We had trained for this back in Canada with lots of hillwork, but it still kicked up for us and was a good workout. Initially, in the first three kilometers we were taking it slow and a pretty blonde French woman passed us on her five speed and then turned off! When we got to the top we were standing there and all of a sudden a French Mirage jet came towards the top and at the last second, banked and roared off. We could almost have touched it . formidable! Such a memory.
My first climb up the mount. I started from the Bedoin side. As an overweight guy who only started training in February (in the flattest country in the world), I found the ride was easier than I had expected. Sure, it was steep, but I just plugged away with pedalling. It wasn''t a race for me. The worst thing was going up the route in a car the day before (and the day after). It seemed so much worse in the car...
I did this as part of the Ventoux3 event (raising money for brain tumour research). Definitely going to do it again next year (with the goal of cycling the three routes).
I took on the Club des Cinglés du Mont-Ventoux challenge earlier this month with a friend - both of us had turned 60 this year. We did it on the way back from L''Eroica in Tuscany - both great challenges that I''d recommend highly, but while I enjoyed the steel for L''Eroica it was strictly carbon for Ventoux.
We went for the ''standard'' order of Bédoin, Malaucène and then Sault - I''ve nothing to compare that with but it worked well for us.
Being October, the first two ascents were into the cloud and the wind, which made it very cold at the summit and even colder for the first few miles of the descents. The top cleared for the third ascent but the wind got up even more - coming up a sheltered and gentle slope from Sault at 15mph and turning into a headwind that knocks you down to 4mph in an instant is quite an experience.
We took it very steadily, knowing it would be a tough day, and although all we completed all three ascents non-stop, they took 2hr 15min, 2hr 8min and 2hr 2min respectively. With breaks in Malaucène and Sault to defrost, we were out for nearly 10 hours in all.
My club membership just arrived as a reminder of a great experience. Whether you climb it once or more, give it a go.
5''10", 10st 4lb, lowest gear 34/28
Excellent climb on a day with ideal conditions at the start - warm with light cloud and gentle breeze. 26C at the bottom but a very different story at the top!
The gentler slopes for the first 5km were an ideal warm up. After that it feels like an unrelentling 10% for most of the rest!!
With a couple of bands at theoadside and locals cheering you on it broke the seemingly unending slog uphill. Being a Saturday there were plenty of cyclists on the road which helped too.
The hardest part of the climb was the last km for me as it seemed to never end with no visibility at all.
At the top the temperature was below 10C but felt even colder with thick fog and howling wind. After a short stop at the top it was an exhilarating descent to Malaucene before attempting to climb it twice more!
Last year, my friend and I climbed Ventoux from Malaucene. I ride vintage steel bikes, but bottled it and hired a carbon bike. I made it in 2 hours and 5 mins and, apart from the nasty 4k after halfway, felt I could have gone quicker. I was 20 minutes ahead of my friend.
This year, I built up a 1985 Eddy Merckx frame with chain rings and cogs that I thought would be suffieient to get me up. And with the same friend we took on the Bedoin climb.
I decided to peg it up the first, flatter section. But then hit the dreaded forest. While in theory there''s not a lot of difference between the two main Ventoux climbs, in practice the forest section of Bedoin is almost mystical in nature. It just goes on and on. Relentless. No views. No respite. 15kms.
I didn''t have enough cogs either. Shortly after I hit the steeper section I was on the smaller chainring (39) and largest cog (26) and out of the saddle for half of the time.
I stopped briefly to take on water at Reynard and then tackled the supposedly easier final 5k. But I''d spent so much on the lower sections I really struggled - especially as the air was feeling pretty thin.
But, notwithstanding a heavier bike, a tougher climb and not enough cogs, I made it in 1 hour 57
When an invite came to stay with family for a week''s holiday near Carpentras , together with the comment from my brother in law to ''get some cycle training in'' I looked up cycle routes nearby and came across The Ventoux!
I hadn''t cycled at all since poly......I am 50 in October. I bought the cheapest gear I could and did 5 weeks training in the hills of Cheshire and Derbyshire - Brickworks, Windgather Rocks, Cat and Fiddle, etc. Any training was good, but I can''t say that it came close to preparing me for what lay ahead. A comment I read on one forum recommended flat out training for an hour or two without hills and I think that is good advice, replicating the experience of just having to keep on going, head down, legs pumping....We (B in law and nephew - both good cyclists) set of at 8.00 from Caromb - about 10k from Bedoin. The weather was clear, cool and still. Once we hit the first hairpin, at the point the real fun starts, I let them go on ahead. I hit the easiest ''granny gear'' and set in to a rhythm that carried me to Chalet R. The slog of the hill is brutal, not helped by the annoying flies. The hill eases off for a short while after CR, but the last k is a killer! The decent is unreal and great fun.
I am Roland momentarily the recordholder of number of climbs in Belgium as well in the Netherlands.I climbed mont Ventoux for the 187th time on sunday 7 th of June 2015.Iam emotionally attached to this mountain because there is a statue since 1979 on the Col des Temêpêtes with my name on it but the statue is dedicated to all cyclists of the world the. Each climb is different and I enjoy every moment ,greeting picknickers ,greeting cyclists passing me or encouraging cyclists standing by foot because they underestimated the climb or are using the wrong gear to tame this beast.I know each curve, each stretch and adapt my speed with the right gear. Coming through the wood is welcome with the Chalet Reynard in sight.Some riders make a stop .I mostly don''t interrrupt my rhythm I am a fan of small gears -seen my age and weight.My heart beat rate is about 115-120 maximum. and my average for the climb is 2h50-3hours...and I Always laugh at the top!
I''m 2m tall and 90kgs, age 25, time 1hr41 from Bedoin.
Once you hit the forrest it''s a world of pain, this is possibly the worst part as theres no hope of the pain ending, the km''s seem to tick by very slowly. You gasp in amazment that you have only travelled 1km since the last marker and are racking your brains, hoping it is some kind of mistake!
Once you are out of the woods and you can see the top, you are in theory "not out of the woods yet". However the beautiful iconic views of the summit spur you on and this is where you should find your rhythm. At this point it starts to dawn on you that you might actually finish the climb.
The last KM are difficult to enjoy but its something of a bitter sweet sensation like no other. you are going through a lot of suffering but the elation and feeling of accomplishment is almost enough to balance it out.
A once in a lifetime climb. Whatever your age or cycling background. Thoroughly recommended.
The spray painted road messages for the Tour greats inspire on the relentless climb.
I shouldn''t have started out 40 km and several valleys away, nor relied on the Garmin sat nav that sent me up river beds and through cemeteries in search of the foot of the great mountain.
The forest scenery is lovely, take your time as it''s not a race, but don''t turn back once you get to the spaghetti house. Just refuel then get back on the bike and slog out the last hour to the summit up the rocky exposed last bit.
The views are worth it, shame about the pig ugly tower and postcard sellers to greet you, making it feel like any wheresville.
Tip- make sure you''ve got a big back cog set, and take a jacket if just for the descent. Doing 40mph descent for half an hour is bloody freezing. You can do it whatever the age you feel.
I went on a cycling trip with my great friend Chris Griffin in late September 2014. Our preparation consisted of a discussion in the pub followed by A one word agreement to go cycling in Provence. We used a guide book but deliberately avoided looking at the next days ride to avoid getting worried about the anticipated exertions! Neither of us had heard of Mt Ventoux before. We looked at the gradient as shown in the book over our croissants and coffee, then
got on our bikes. For the record, we took our own bikes, both hybrids, and carried our day packs with all our stuff.
The first part of the ride, through the forest was un eventful and slow going. We were encouraged by several French picnicking families who treated us as Tour de France heroes shouting "Allez allez, allez!" Very funny.We declined the wine offered by them and continued. They laughed a bit too much. They knew what we were in for!!!
We made it to the top. Advice? Go slowly, it''s not a race. Take a few rests, no one is looking, no one cares.
Buy a "I cycled mt Ventoux" tee shirt. Wear it proudly, even though none of my friends have heard of it!! A truly bonding life experience.
BTW, we are both in mid fifties and reasonably, but not very, fit.
At the age of 57 being 178 cm tall and 81 kg I took on the climb with a compact crankset 50/34 and rear 12/27. Pretty soon I was at 27 but after the forest at the chalet I was able to go back to 25 and had a nice ride not exhausted and feeling quite good finishing in 121 minutes I was satisfied.
Personally I think the Grossglockner is more challenging and also nicer.
I am overweight and struggle on hills, but I have done Tourmalet, Aubisque, several Pyrenean climbs, Welsh climbs and the odd Alp. Ventoux was the hardest. The heat was 34 degrees, the going was hard but this was an amazing thing to conquer. Many people use the word "relentless" relating to the gradient- this is definitely the case and I had to put a foot down frequently. Watch the wind on the descent and always stop at Chalet Reynard to refresh on the way up. Would I do it again? Yes. But with more training next time. Oh - and take a damn camera.
Age:68 , 5''10'''' , 12stone.
Bike: trek with triple front ,small ring 30, cassette 11 to 30.
Live and cycle in The Peak District, so used to hills but even so, MtVentoux is a hill and a half.
Left Bedoin at 7am on 31 July to avoid the heat of the day. It was very quiet and a good time to start.
I trained hard for 2 weeks, took advice on eating and drinking before,and on the climb,kept a steady cadence,kept a regular deep breathing,concentrated on the road just ahead of me not looking around like a tourist and was surprised to reach the top not too exhausted.
Definitely a worthy challenge, but a very satisfying one to achieve .
If you do the research ,eat and drink the right things,train hard, and never underestimate this colossal mountain you will succeed.
18th October 2014
Bright sunshine, Temp 24C
Age 65, 74kgs, compact chainset 50/34 – 11/32
I have done quite a lot of riding in the Aravis area of France (Col de la Colombiere etc) but this was the toughest by a long way. I was told what to expect but when the serious climb started it was surprise. Not the actual gradient but the sheer relentlessness of it – up to Chalet Reynard there is no let up. I found it difficult to drink fluids as my breathing rhythm was disrupted by trying to drink. Taking on food or gel was out of the question without stopping.
First stop at Chalet Reynard to eat & drink, then continued after about 5 mins to top. The first section of the de-forrested part was much easier and a welcome relief. However, it soon kicks up again. The pro photographers were a mild distraction, as they run up beside you and place their business card in your back pocket – you will have a small collection of cards by the top.
A 2 minute photo stop at the rather poingnant Tom Simpson memorial, then the gruelling last kilometer. On reaching the top, the world and his wife are there – makes it all seem worthwhile.
Watch out for sheep (and their droppings) on the descent. Buy your Ventoux strip at the bike shop in Bedoi
I am 49, 6''2" and 14 stone. I was determined to ride Ventoux before my 50th birthday. I did the Bedoin route in late May. I had never ridden outside UK before. My training started from January (gym bike sometimes) but as the spring weather improved I did lots of early morning rides over the hills of Teesdale - excellent training. I hired a hybrid bike in Bedoin and did the ride in 2 hours 10 minutes without stopping. Weather was perfect apart from the mist kept coming in obscuring the view of the mountain top. I was assisted by partner, Gail, who kept me re-fuelled with water. The ride was tough but dooable if you train properly. Must take on water and I would make sure you have warm clothes for top and the descent. The descent was amazing. I stopped at the Tommy Simpson memorial to leave a message from a work colleague who''s mother was Tommy Simpsons cousin. The whole experience was brilliant.
A few years since I last rode Ventoux, but since then, ruptured cruciate ligaments in the left knee, a serious illness, and now being 71, I wondered if the legs would take me to the top of the ''Giant of Provence'', once again. Thankfully the old legs did, a fraction under 1hr 30 mins, from the centre of Bedoin, July 31st 2014.
I had not ridden Mont Ventoux, for a few years, since then I had ruptured the cruciate ligaments in my left knee, has a serious illness, and at 71, was not too sure if the old legs would carry me up the ''Giant of Provence'' again. Thankfully the legs still work and I climbed it in a fraction under 1 hour 30 minutes.
Chris, Truley, Rob, Ben and Pete left their camp site near Beziers and headed east towards the mighty Ventoux. After following a dodgy set of directions from the AA, it was decided that only Rob, Ben and Pete would make the push for the summit. The first 6kms lulled us into a false sense, but after that the real climbing began and once it began it never eased. As we left the shelter of the forest the, true heat of the day hit home and energy levels began to drop. With about 5kms to the top, we came across the base for some Dutch charity walkers who had music belting out and the support crew were giving all the cyclists a cheer which was a needed "shot in the arm" at that stage. With the hairpin to the top navigated and the finish in sight, we were greeted by a few hundred Dutch charity people, not all friendly! However, three tired but proud English lads had achieved the goal that had been planned for a year. We had a quick beer on the terrace of the restaurant and soaked up the view. Now ready for the descent, it was eyeballs out down to Bedoin. This climb is a lot harder than reports will lead you to believe, so if you are planning your first ascent of the “Beast” then be aware, the Ventoux is Viscous!
Must stress to any cycle fan that this is a fantastic experience you will probably appreciate more after because it is tough.. I practices on the short but ( I thought steep) hills of sth London but ventoux is something else.From about 5km to chateau Renaud it is uncompromising - there are no breaks just consistently steep and demanding so be prepared! It does ease off a little but then the wind kicks in and on the day I climbed the last km had to be walked/ crawled as the wind was gale force( Bedoin was 25 celcius beautifully sunny when I left). For all that I would love to do it again.
I am 63 years of age and a type 11 diabetic, my weight is 16.5 stone and i am only 5ft 7inches tall. I trained hard locally on our hills but nothing could prepare me for Ventoux. I am afraid to say i only made it half way up before i came to a grinding halt, i know realise that i should of spent more time loosing weight than training hard, and i offer these comments to any body really overweight who is contemplating an assault on Ventoux. every pound in weight lost I would reckon is worth about 50 hard miles training.