The second edition of the Haute Route Ventoux welcomed riders for registration day this afternoon in the heart of one of cycling’s most famous towns, Bédoin, right in the shadow of the legendary Mont Ventoux. The atmosphere in the race village was a mix of excitement and anticipation, as the hundreds of riders collected their bibs and visited the partner stands, ready for the three stages that lie ahead.
With three timed and ranked stages scheduled over the next three days, the international peloton is scheduled to ride a total of 273km with 8030M+. Each stage will finish atop Mont Ventoux, summiting it each time from one of the three different ascents (Sault, Malaucène, Bédoin). For those not feeling up to the full challenge, an alternative route has been provided, featuring less climbing and shorter stages and a separate classification.
After carrying out the equipment check and collecting their bib, rider pack and event kit from Mavic, the international peloton of riders was able to enjoy an event village that was a hive of activity as the partner stands offered both entertainment and exclusive offers. The Mavic boutique provided the opportunity to buy any last minute kit, whilst Wattbike offered the opportunity to test their new Wattbike Atom and 3T allowed riders to take the 3T Strada Team for a spin or book it for a test ride over the next three days.
Looking ahead to his first ever Haute Route this weekend, Michail Van Sluijs from the Netherlands shared his expectations for the three stages: “I think the ascent from Malaucène is going to be the toughest part of the weekend,” he said, “I’m expecting to suffer a little this weekend but have a good time for sure. The Haute Route Ventoux is a good big event for me to close out my season this weekend.”
In contrast, Jason Elswood is riding his seventh Haute Route with wife Enya, and was looking forward to another great event: “It’s our second this year,” he said with a smile, “we already did the Pyrenees in August. We weren’t sure if we were going to do another one next year but with the Infinity Pass the Haute Route is going to take us to places we never thought we would go.”
Also riding his first Haute Route this weekend, Maxime Deraet, was feeling ready to go: “My friend has motivated me to do this event he said,” he said, “I did the Ventoux once this summer and I love it so I’m back now for the three day event. It’s my first sportive, I’ve only ever done triathlons in the past.”
His friend, Sébastien Vermast, was looking forward to testing the three day format with the seven day Alps event in his sights for the future: “I’m going to test myself physically and mentally over three days,” he explained, “I want to do the Alps event in the future. I chose to do the Ventoux event as it was the first climb I ever rode on my bike five years ago, it’s mythical!”
After attending the first safety briefing to get the low down on the logistics and organisation as well as details of the first stage, riders were able to enjoy the traditional pasta party. Many took the opportunity to meet new people and compare training stories before parting ways to enjoy a good night’s sleep before stage one tomorrow.
Tomorrow’s first stage is the a 119km long route with 3150M+ of climbing over the Col des Trois Termes, Col de Lagarde and up the Mont Ventoux from Sault. The so-called, ‘easiest’ of the three ascents up Mont Ventoux to finish the stage features 25km of climbing for an altitude gain of 1262M and an average gradient of 5%.