Stage 2 - Bédoin - Mont Ventoux

141.5KM | 3,300M+ · Saturday 7th October

Stage 2 will see us do a complete tour of Mont Ventoux, in the anti-clockwise direction. From Bédoin we head SSE to take the road through the Gorges de la Nesque to Sault, and then turn north, west and finally south again over a series of rolling hills before beginning the ascent of Ventoux from Malaucène.

The profile looks like a vertical slice through a pre-historic fish, with a gently curved, lumpy back and a huge triangular tail. The first 120km will serve as a long softening up session before the real challenge of the day, the climb to the summit via Malaucène. They look easy on paper, those first 120km, but you will still have to ride them… They include a total of six climbs, probably best described as rolling hills. None of them are difficult or long but the accumulation of all six will take its toll, especially if it is a hot day. Only the last three are dignified with the name of “col”: the col d’Aulan (845m, km 60), the col de Peyruergue (820m, km 74) and the col d’Ey (718m, km 89).

The first climb begins immediately from the start, and rises 130m over 6km (2.2%). The descent is a mirror image of this climb, leading directly to the longest of these six low hills: 20km at 3.8%. This is a beautiful climb, on a narrow road with no traffic, winding up above the vallée de la Nesque. There are some short but impressive tunnels cut through the rock.

After a short descent, a 10km false flat at 1.5% brings us through Sault (where we will have started the climb on Stage 1) and on to the next crest. The cols of Aulan, Peyruergue and Ey follow on at intervals of about one every 15km. Each time the total ascent is about 200m, spread over 5-8km.

Once over the col d’Ey, there is an initial 4km descent followed by 24km of false flat descent to Malaucène, where the real work begins. The climb quickly ramps up to 7% and then 9%, before becoming highly variable through km 5 to km 9. Beware, there are a couple of ramps at 11%! There is a long, hard mid-section averaging 10% from km 9 to Chalet Liotard at km 14, including 3km in a never-ending straight line. Fortunately there’s another brief respite around the bend at the Chalet before another tough kilometre at 11%. The final 4km are at an average slope of 8%. By now the iconic summit station is in view and thus the finish line is in sight.

The 21km and 1,535m of climbing from Malaucène to the summit are not to be taken lightly. This is the Ventoux, after all, if not yet by the most difficult route, which is reserved for the time trial on Stage 3. But the climb from Malaucène remains one of the most difficult in France and must be treated with respect. Bearing this in mind, if you find yourself in the middle or towards the back of the peloton, you would be well advised to ride defensively during the first 120km.

As on the first day, don’t stay on the top but coast down quickly to Bédoin to start the recovery process and prepare yourself for Stage 3.

Stage description by Alpine Cols

Host Venue: Bédoin

Bédoin Mont-Ventoux – On Top

The town of Bédoin is located in the French department of Provence; built around the Colline Saint-Antonin it is constituted of a number of quaint hamlets surrounding a rustic town centre.

The town’s DNA is inextricably linked to the land upon which it is built, and to the Mont Ventoux itself. The 9103 hectares of communal land stretch from the southern side of the town to the summit of the famous col at 1910m above sea level. Bédoin is also home to the biggest communal forest in France (6300 hectares).

The Ventoux itself is home to a diverse (and protected) selection of wild flora and fauna living in one of the most unique ecosystems in the world.

Bédoin is renowned for its AOP Ventoux vineyard, its quality of life and its dynamic and welcoming population. People come from the world over to visit the tourist-friendly town. On top of the incomparable cycling, visitors can enjoy local restaurants, shops, vineyards and tourist attractions. The Monday morning and Saturday evening markets are firm favourites, both known for being one of the best in the department of Provence.

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