21.4KM | 1,590M+ · Sunday 8th October
This is it, the moment you’ve been waiting for, and the reason why you came. It’s not every day you have the chance to ride an official time trial up the mythical climb from Bédoin to the summit of Mont Ventoux.
This is the route nearly always taken by the Tour (14 times to date, since the first in 1952, won by Jean Robic). This is the route where the drama has taken place, the titanic struggles mano a mano from the first time trial in 1958 (when Gaul unexpectedly beat Bahamontès, in an incredible 1h2’ – see how close you can come to this), Poulidor’s victory in 1965, Merckx’s victory (and collapse) in 1970, Thévenet’s victory (in front of Merckx) in 1972, the famous incident in 2000 when Armstrong left the victory to Pantani, Virenque’s popular victory in 2002 and of course Chris Froome’s more controversial one in 2013. It was on this climb where Froome, Porte and Mollema ran into the back of a motor-bike, resulting in Froome having to abandon his bike and run part of the way to the finish.
It was also on this climb where Tom Simpson collapsed and died, just 2km from the summit in 1967. World Champion in 1965, winner of Milan San-Remo in 1964 and the first Briton to wear the yellow jersey on the Tour, he was not yet 30. You will see his memorial by the side of the road as you pass.
So what is it like, this famous climb from Bédoin?
One word sums it up: tough.
The dry statistics are 21.5km, 1612m and 7.5%. Sounds OK? Think again and let’s look at the detail.
The first 5.5km from Bédoin to St Estève (and the first hairpin) is at only 4.4%. This leaves another 16km to climb, at a considerably steeper gradient. From St Estève to Chalet Reynard (through the infamous forest section) is 9.5km an average gradient of over 9%. The slope is not constant however, with a few sections as low as 7% and many over 11% and 12%.
The last 6km from Chalet Reynard are a little easier, but much more exposed. If it is windy you will feel it here, although with luck it might be a tail wind. There is a short steep section around the bend after Chalet Reynard but soon after the gradient drops to around 7% for the next 4.5km. The last 2km or so are steep once again at 10%, but by now the end is well and truly in sight!
Stage description by Alpine Cols
The stage cols will be available soon
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.