Mont Ventoux

Bédoin, France

The Mont Ventoux is a col with a length of 21.2 kilometer. This is a highest category (HC) col. It is located in Bédoin, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France. The average grade of this col is 7.5% with a maximum of 10.7%. The Mont Ventoux ascents from 335 meter at the start, to 1.912 meter at the top, with a total of 1.577 ascending meters.


Mont Ventoux Profile


Distance 21.2 km
Elevation gain 1577 m
Average grade 7.5 %
Maximum grade 10.7 %
Climb category HC
Minimum elevation 335 m
Maximum elevation 1912 m

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This brutal climb is one of the Tour de France’s most iconic landmarks and has been featured in numerous pro races. Reaching the summit is made especially challenging by the sheer exposure at the top, where riders have zero protection from frequent strong winds and the beating sun.

Mont Ventoux has become legendary as the scene of one of the most grueling climbs in the Tour de France bicycle race, which has ascended the mountain fifteen times since 1951.

The most eye-catching story on the Mont Ventoux is probably that of the late Tom Simpson. It was very hot on July 13, 1967, during the thirteenth stage of the Tour de France. The temperature rose to over 40 degrees Celsius. Partly due to the use of Amphetamine, the heat, alcohol and the exhaustion battle of that day Simpson fell 1.4 kilometers below the top of the climb. His team leader tried to get him back on his bike, but the 29-year-old Briton fell off again. On his way by helicopter to the hospital of Avignon, he died. There is a memorial to Simpson near the summit, which has become a shrine to fans of cycling, who often leave small tokens of remembrance there.

Another impressive story like this came about only three years later, again in the Tour. Eddy Merckx wanted to do an honor on top of the mythical Simpson mountain. He attacked early and built up such a big lead that at the monument of his former teammate he even took off his hat. In the last kilometer, however, the cannibal had a very hard time and his lead was seriously reduced. He managed to win the stage that day, but after the finish, he had to breathe to get back to his senses.

Also in more recent years, the mountain was a guarantee for spectacle in La Grande Boucle. The climb in 2000 was the scene of a memorable battle between the late Marco Pantani and Lance Armstrong, where the American said he gave the victory to Il Pirata. The climb of 2016 will also be remembered by many cycling enthusiasts when Chris Froome ran on the mountain after a delay with competitors Richie Porte, Bauke Mollema, and a camera motard.

The side of Bédoin is the most famous and difficult ascent. The road to the summit has an average gradient of 7.7%. Until Saint-Estève, the climb is easy, but the 16 remaining kilometers have an average gradient of 8.9%. The last kilometers may have strong, violent winds. The ride takes 1h30m-2h30m for trained amateur riders. Professional riders take 1h-1h15 min. The fastest time so far recorded has been that of Iban Mayo in the individual climbing time trial of the 2004 Dauphiné Libéré: 55' 51". The time was measured from Bédoin for the first time in the 1958 Tour de France, in which Charly Gaul was the fastest at 1h 2' 9".

- Tour de France 1952 - Stage 14
- Tour de France 1955 - Stage 11
- Tour de France 1958 - Stage 18 (MTF)
- Tour de France 1965 - Stage 14 (MTF)
- Tour de France 1967 - Stage 13
- Tour de France 1967 - Stage 14 (MTF)
- Tour de France 1987 - Stage 18 (MTF)
- Tour de France 1994 - Stage 15
- Tour de France 2000 - Stage 12 (MTF)
- Tour de France 2002 - Stage 14 (MTF)
- Tour de France 2009 - Stage 20 (MTF)
- Tour de France 2013 - Stage 15 (MTF)
- Tour de France 2016 - Stage 12 (MTF) (Race shortened until Chalet Reynard)
- Tour de France 2021 - Stage 11
- Mont Ventoux Denivele Challenge 2020, 2021