What a day we have ahead of us, Mont Ventoux. Officially, the total length is 21.5 km averaging 7.45%. However, the first 7 km is kind, you’ve got to make this up at some point. It will be worth the effort with an incredible ride home following the carved cliffs of Gorges de la Nesque.
Géant of Provence, Mont Ventoux
We’ll get away in the cool of the morning and travel to Bédoin, where our ride will start. This gives us several kilometres before the climb to Ventoux begins in earnest. Officially, the total length is 21.5 km averaging 7.45%. However, the first 7 km is kind, you’ve got to make this up at some point. Reaching the renowned tower at the summit, requires great resolve to pace yourself – as going too hard will empty your tank. Riding through the forest to Ventoux contributes to the mystery of this climb. The gradient is unrelenting but eases a little as you reach Chalet Reynard – 8% gradient never felt so good. In contrast with the forest the final 6 km to the summit goes through one of the most surreal environments you’ll ever ride – the Ventoux moonscape. Make a stop at the Tom Simpson memorial 900m from the summit.
Your reward at the summit is a serious oversupply of lollies from the vendors and the views across the Luberon Valley. This is truly a memorable experience. After contemplation of your achievements, we’ll descend back to Chalet Reynard. From here we’ll take the gentle descent toward Sault, passing through rows of lavender fields. A little more climbing takes us to the top of an incredible road following the carved cliffs of Gorges de la Nesque. This is a stunning ride.
At the bottom of the gorge there is a cold water spring that you can cool off under. If we make good time today, this is a lovely village to have lunch. It is then a 20km ride through the vineyards back to our transport. A memorable ride, two items off your bucket list. We’ll return to our beautiful hotel for a final dinner in Provence.
TODAY IN THE RACE
Stage 17: Pont du Gard to Gap, Hilly, 206 km
Riders return to a long 200+ km stage as they head toward the French Alps. The early stages will highlight the historic sites along the Rhone Valley, including the theatre in Orange before the village of Vaison-la-Romaine. Winds are possible to challenge the peloton and favour a breakaway. The final climb under 10km to go will turn a cohesive breakaway against each other.