Cycling, Road Cycling, Tips & advice

Did you know?: 10 facts about Mont Ventoux

1 Jun , 2016  

Mont Ventoux in France is famed as a must-do ride for keen cyclists. The famously tough climb will feature again in the Tour de France 2016.

Here we reveal a few of the facts and things to know about Mt Ventoux. Why not give it a try yourself as part of a Macs Bikes cycling in Provence tour?

1 Mont Ventoux is located 20km north-east of Carpentras, Vaucluse, in the Provence region.

2 It is nicknamed, variously, the “Beast of Provence”, the “Giant of Provence,” and “The Bald Mountain” (because it is bare of vegetation at the summit).

View of Mt Ventoux and the beautiful Luberon range.

View of Mt Ventoux and the beautiful Luberon range.

3 Venteux means windy in French and Mt Ventoux can be extremely windy at the summit. Wind speeds of up to 320km/h (200mph) have been recorded. The wind blows at more than 90km/h (56mph) 240 days a year.

4 Mont Ventoux is geologically in the Alps but is often thought of as separate from them because of a lack of mountains of a similar height nearby. It stands alone to the north of the Luberon range.

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5 Mt Ventoux is legendary in the Tour de France. The Tour has ascended the mountain fifteen times since 1951 and will do again in 2016.

6 The Tour de France has finished at the summit of Mont Ventoux nine times – and will do the same in 2016. The finish line is at 1909 m, although in 1965, 1967, 1972 and 1974 the finish was lower, at 1895 m.

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7 You can ride Mt Ventoux from three directions.

Riding south from Bédoin is extends to 1617m over 21.8km. This is the most famous and difficult ascent and the average gradient is 7.43%. The ride takes trained amateur riders between 1.5 and 2.5 hours but most people will take longer. The fastest time recorded is 55 mins and 51 secs.

Riding northwest from Malaucène the climb is 1570m over 21.5 km. It’s a similar difficulty to the Bédoin ascent but is usually much more sheltered from the wind.

Tackling Mt Ventoux from Sault it is 1210m over 26 km. This is the easiest route in terms of gradient despite being longer.

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8 If you are up for it there is a special award that goes to cyclists who ride Mt Ventoux three times from each direction in one day. See Ventoux Cinglés Club

9 Sadly, Mt Ventoux claimed the life of British cyclist Tom Simpson, who died here on July 13, 1967. It was later revealed he died of heat exhaustion caused by a combination of factors, including dehydration, amphetamines and alcohol, although there is still speculation as to the exact cause of his death.

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10 Chris Froome has won two of the last three Bastille Day stages, including the Tour’s last trip up Mont Ventoux in 2013.

See more: 14 things to know about the Tour de France 2016.

See more: Be inspired to take a road biking trip.

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A journalist, web copywriter blogger and social media chatterbox, Fiona combines her love of the outdoors – especially Scotland – with a diverse freelance work life. If she's not at her desk writing about the outdoors, she'll be outside cycling, running, kayaking, snowboarding and walking Munros. She shares her outdoors passion with partner, the G-Force. Sometimes her teenage daughter Little Miss Outdoors tags along, too.