Mont Ventoux is a special mountain. For many cycling enthusiasts like me. In this blog I will tell you more about this special mountain that is located in the south of France. I will do this mainly from my own cyclist vision.
The mountain is known for several reasons. There are a lot of hills around Mont Ventoux. The Mont Ventoux is the only real mountain in the area. This makes it visible from far away. The top of the Mont Ventoux resembles a moon landscape. Hardly any trees and plants grow on the top. This makes this mountain very special. On top of that, it is a tourist attraction. In the summer, thousands of people cycle, walk and drive up the mountain.
The Mont Ventoux can be climbed from three different places. From the village of Bédoin, the town of Malaucène and in the east from Sault. The climb from Bédoin is more than 21 kilometres. The average gradient is no less than 7.5%. The ascent from Malaucène is comparable. The length and the average gradient are almost the same. The distance is also the same. Yet it is a different experience. The ascent from Sault is 26 kilometres long. This one is less steep but longer. By many this is seen as the easiest way up. However, this side is still difficult.
Tour de France
The Tour de France has already included this climb in the program a several times. This has made the climb very famous. A number of special moments have already occurred. Not all nice moments. In 1967 the Mont Ventoux ascent was fatal for Tom Simpson. Due to a combination of amphetamine, alcohol and the heat, he could not make it to the top and he died. A few years later, Eddy Merckx won on Mont Ventoux. Eddy Merckx is one of the best cyclists ever. He took off his cap at the place where Tom Simpson had died. In the 2000 Tour de France, Lance Armstrong and Marco Pantani climbed the iconic mountain together. Lance Armstrong was the strongest of the two. He awarded the victory to Marco Pantani. He soon indicated that he regretted this. In 2021, the Mont Ventoux will be included in the Tour de France program again. In the stage they even ride it twice. Do you want to know more about the stage? Click on the following link and view the profile of the stage
As already described, the Mont Ventoux can be climbed from three locations. The most famous place in Bédoin. This is a village located on the south of the mountain.
The village has approximately three thousand inhabitants. It is the starting point of the climb. Many bicycle shops can be found in Bédoin. Mountain bikers and cyclists can go here for all necessary equipment. There is also the possibility to rent bicycles. In this way everyone is able to climb the mountain.
Besides all the cycling, Bédoin has a lot more to offer. Bédoin has some very beautiful destinations in the small village. The main street is a very beautiful one. Many restaurants are located on the main street. The street is covered by many trees. The branches hang above the road and create a beautiful street.
From the main street there is the possibility to walk up into the village. At the top of the village is the cathedral. A beautiful structure that is visible from a distance. The road to the church is also beautiful. You climb up between narrow streets. This gives you a typical French feeling.
As already mentioned, most restaurants can be found on the main street. There are many different price ranges. Different cuisines are also offered. In addition to cycling, there is the possibility to eat delicious food in Bédoin. Besides eating, you can also sit on the terrace. A number of delicious beers are offered in Bédoin. Bédoin is the most famous starting place. It is a wonderful destination that has a lot to offer.
Mont Ventoux ascent from Bédoin
The most famous climb is from Bédoin. The road to the top of Mont Ventoux starts from this village. It is a route that can be divided into three parts. Enjoy the way to the top of Mont Ventoux.
The climb starts shortly after the roundabout in the middle of Bédoin itself. The first five kilometres are relatively easy. The gradient does not exceed 6%. The average gradient in the first five kilometres is about 5%. The top of the mountain is also visible during the first kilometres.
After the first five kilometres you make a hairpin turn. From here it gets really tough. The next ten kilometres you will cycle in a forest that seems endless. The average gradient are between 8% and 10%. In summer, the heat also plays a major role here.
After this tough stretch you end up at Chalet Reynard. This is a famous place where many people are. Here is the option to get food. From here the last six kilometres of the extremely difficult climb begins. The gradient will decrease a bit. On average they are between 6% and 8%. This is still very tough. From this point the monthly landscape begins. There is often a strong wind that can make it even harder here. When you arrive at the top, you can take a picture with the Mont Ventoux sign. You can proudly say that you have climbed the Mont Ventoux.
Gorges de la Nesque
From Bédoin you have the option to cycle up Mont Ventoux. However, there are also other special routes around the Mont Ventoux. One of them is cycling through the Gorges de la Nesque. This is a gap between Bédoin and Sault. Here you can enjoy a spectacular view. A river flows below with makes the view exceptional. It is the perfect route from Bédoin to Sault. From Sault you can go up the Mont Ventoux.
Many cyclists use this route from Bédoin to Sault as a warm-up lap. The day after they cycle up the Mont Ventoux. During the route you will have a lot of altitude meters with you. It is not steep, but it is long. It is a route that is suitable for many cyclists. From the road you can look down more than 100 meters. The erosion in the landscape is clearly visible. Several stops have also been laid out to take photos. You can safely stop at the spots and take the time to take a nice photo. For anyone who goes to Mont Ventoux, it is recommended to cycle this route.
Preparation for the Mont Ventoux
Cycling the Mont Ventoux is not easy. Good preparation is necessary. Many cyclists do not reach the top without stopping. Most cyclists take at least two hours to get to the top. In short, good preparation is important.
– Make sure you have cycled a lot at home. This will improve your basic condition. You will also get to know your bike better. You know what the possibilities are, so you will not be surprised.
– Make sure you bring good sports nutrition from home. Climbing a mountain of more than twenty kilometres with an eight percent climbing’s percentage takes a lot of energy. In addition, it is often very hot. To prevent cramps, you should drink a lot of water. Supplements are useful to keep the energy level up. Adding sugar to the water gives you extra energy. You can buy these at bicycle shops.
– Make sure your bike is prepared. Before you climb Mont Ventoux, you must make sure that your bike is in good condition. You must be able to drive up safely and comfortably. High speeds are reached during the descent. A safe bicycle is crucial.
Here is another checklist to help you with the ideal preparation. These are the items you should take with you on the day you climb the Mont Ventoux. If you make these preparations, you will certainly succeed in climbing the Mont Ventoux!
– Cycling clothing: wear cycling clothing in which you feel comfortable
– Wind jacket: the wind can blow hard in the lunar landscape. Descending is also often cold.
– Water bottles: drinking while cycling is extremely important. Try to drink a water bottle every hour. This keeps your body fit for longer.
– Food: make sure you have enough food with you. I personally like to bring a banana and an energy bar. A long climb such as the Mont Ventoux demands a lot from the body. Eating well is important.
– Money: always bring money. It can always happen that you have to pay for something. Make sure you have money with you. In addition, there is also the possibility to get a drink on the top. A Coca Cola is delicious then!
– Telephone: it is important to always be reachable. If there is anything you can call someone.
– Bicycle: finally, your bicycle. Without your bike you will not be able to climb. Make sure it is in good condition and nothing is broken.
In short, the Mont Ventoux is a special climb. The mountain is well known. The Tour de France has often climbed it. For many cyclists it is a mountain they want to climb. Bédoin is all about cycling. It is also a nice place where you can eat well. You can go to the top of the Mont Ventoux from three different directions. In preparation “Gorges de la Nesque” is very good and a beautiful route. Finally, it is important to prepare yourself well.
Do you want to climb Mont Ventoux? Grab your bike and start training!