Battling the elements and the third side of Mont Ventoux


The third stage of the 2018 Haute Route Ventoux, and final stage of the 2018 Haute Route Cycling Series, took place this morning with an uphill time trial from Bédoin to Mont Ventoux. Featuring 1580m of climbing over 21.5km for an average gradient of 7.4%, this ascent is the most well-known side to the legendary Mont Ventoux.

Peter Kruetzen from the Netherlands was looking forward to becoming a finisher today: “The body is a bit tired from the previous days,” he said, “and the weather is bad but it is supposed to get better whilst we climb. This is my second ever time trial, I’m looking forward to making it to the finish.”

“I’m feeling quite relaxed,” said Demetrio Pitarch from Switzerland, “there’s no stress, the large part of the event is done and now it’s just about braving the elements, it’s part of being a cyclist isn’t it!”

Riders set off one by one down the start ramp in the heart of a wet Bédoin, heading out of town and turning right past the KM0 sign and over the timing mat to start their third climb up the bald mountain in three days. The first six kilometres of the ascent are the easiest, until a hairpin bend in St-Estève signals the beginning of the steepest section through the forest. A left hand turn past Chalet Reynard nine kilometres later signaled the start of the final section of the climb, exposed to the wind and riding through the fog the riders braved their way to the summit to earn their well-deserved finisher medal.

Standing at the summit triumphantly, Jeroen Noordzij from the Netherlands was delighted to have earned his first Haute Route finisher medal: “I’m really happy to be done and at the top,” he said, “I’d climbed this side once before and I actually went quicker by a few minutes today. I’m impressed with my first Haute Route, so much variety around this mountain. I’ll probably be back for a seven day event.”

“It’s been a great three days,” said Gez Lane from the UK, finishing her first Haute Route today at the summit of Mont Ventoux, “my main memory will be the weather the previous two days and then today I got caught up in a traffic jam with some sheep which was quite funny. I’ll recover now for a few days and then see what the next adventures will be.”

“The best moment of the three days is right now,” said Jean Claude Mercier from France, “to be a finisher at the summit of Mont Ventoux.”

Swiss rider Dylan Demont was impressed with the beauty of the region over the past three days, “I loved it, the views here above the clouds at the summit are stunning,” he said, “I made sure I took some pictures throughout the three days even if I lost a bit of time, the entire region is stunning.”

“I haven’t decided which event to do next year, but I’ll be back again for sure!” he added with a smile.

At the front of the race today it was Ruari Grant once again who took the stage win to cement his overall win, finishing with only a 30s margin of victory over Frenchman Antoine Berlin. In the women’s race it was Alice Meignie who took the stage win, whereas the overall win went to Janine Meyer. Finally, in the Duo competition it was once again Team Panavto Club who took the stage and the overall win in the process.

After three amazing days in Provence, and eleven incredible events across the globe this year, the Haute Route Ventoux and 2018 Haute Route Cycling Series came to a close this afternoon with a great closing ceremony and prize giving in Bédoin. Riders were able to enjoy a cold Vélosophe beer, reflect on their achievements and plan for future adventures on the Haute Route.

Talking of future adventures, registrations for the 2019 Haute Route Cycling Series single events will open at 4:00PM CET on Monday 8th of October. In the meantime, this is your last chance to purchase an Infinity Pass as sales will close at 3:59M CET on October 8th when registrations open for the single events. Ride as many Haute Route events as you wish in 2019 with the Infinity Pass for one fixed price: €1650. Head to our website here for more details and find out why riders recommend it here.