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Mont Ventoux - Géant de Provence

Written and photographed by Daniel Hughes for Epic Cols.

The stats:

  • Distance 21.4 km
  • Ascent 1,639 m
  • Average gradient 7.6%
  • Max gradient 12%

 

The white sea at 1,909 m, Mont Ventoux is nothing less than epic. This giant that stands alone in the Provence region of Southern France, and has made for some of the most dramatic backdrops for the Tour de France. With gradients between 7-10%, the 22 km climb from Bédoin is highly featured in the Tour. Its stark summit with oceanic limestone, heat haze and the strong winds which give the mountain its name, have tortured the legs of many pro cyclists and amateurs alike.

From Bédoin, the rolling terrain is characterised by vineyards and Tuscan-like villas. Providing an ample amount of motivation and warm up, the views are vast with Mont Ventoux’s scale and lion-shaped back visible in the distance. With a long slope in the middle, I won’t be the first rider to warn about the tough section starting at Les Bruns, where the mythical mountain starts to show its madness. The road turns sharply into the forest, and from kilometre nine, the steep incline lasts much too long.

At this point, you might be wondering to yourself ‘how did I get here?’ And rather, ‘how did this get here?’ From the rich agricultural landscape to the extra-terrestrial moonscape of bare rock, this climb takes your legs and mind spinning to another planet. With 4 km to go, the gradient ramps up once more.

Long bends carve through the limestone as the tower ahead draws nearer. You’ll ride past the café stop, le Vendran, for one final short and punchy test to see the sign ‘Sommet du Ventoux’, and a view you have been counting down the kilometres to see. 

If you’re lucky, this is a view to cherish, as high winds and highly changeable weather are common here. That goes some way to explaining why this rare environment on Ventoux is an ecological magnet that can make any human feel humble. On our ascent, within minutes reaching the top we were covered in clouds, and a storm raced towards us. It was wild!

To read and see more iconic climbs from around the world go to:  www.epicicols.com

@danielhughesuk Equipment:

Shimano Dura-Ace R9170

Di2 hydraulic groupset

System engineering at its peak. Each of the components magnifies the qualities of the others for an unparalleled level of performance.


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Shimano Dura-Ace R9100-P

Dual Sided Power meter

The choice of the world's best climbers, sprinters, and time trialists, the DURA-ACE R9100 crank drops weigh while maximizing power transfer. The new design, and its iconic look, is adapted for race specific disc brake systems while still offering a wide range of gearing and crank arm length options. The addition of a reliable, accurate, waterproof power meter makes this crank an even more valuable tool to serious cyclists. With a rechargeable Li-ion battery, left/right balance, and Bluetooth LE and ANT+ connectivity, the SHIMANO DURA-ACE Power Meter sets a new standard in cycling data collection.

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PRO Vibe Aero

Handlebar

An ultra-high performance handlebar constructed with Innegra fibers to ride the most punishing conditions. The new PRO Vibe Aero handlebar is built to meet cycling’s highest demands using state of the art technology. The Vibe Aero is developed with Di2 in mind offering ultimate integration for maximum aerodynamic performance and ultra-clean styling.

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PRO Vibe Carbon

Stem

High-end, full carbon stem

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Shimano Dura-Ace R9100

Pedals

  • Optimized balance of weight and rigidity
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  • Injection-molded carbon-composite body
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  • Extra-wide platform for stability and power transfer
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  • Wide bearing placement for uniform load distribution
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  • Customize the entry and release tension settings
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  • SHIMANO 3-year limited warranty
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  • 4 mm longer axle model available

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@caralimccall Equipment:

Shimano Ultegra R8070

Di2 hydraulic groupset

ULTEGRA R8000 series is "pro-proven" as it is a direct trickle down from DURA-ACE groupset. As road bike component, the stress-free operation is one of the most important feature to lead all day riding comfort with braking and shifting.

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PRO Vibe Carbon

Stem

High-end, full carbon stem

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