Day 153: Mont Ventoux

Saturday September 3, 2005, 98 km (61 miles) – Total so far: 9,447 km (5,870 miles)

We had a long tough climb in hot sunshine for our last famous Alp of the tour. But what a mountain, Ventoux is a real monster!

There were literally thousands of riders on Ventoux, it’s an extremely popular destination for cyclists. We stopped for a while at the memorial on Mont Ventoux to Tom Simpson, the first British road world champion and the first to wear the yellow jersey of Tour de France leader. The granite memorial, unveiled by Simpson’s wife Helen in 1968, the year after he died on the mountain during a stage of the Tour de France, has become a place of pilgrimage for cyclists, particularly those from the UK.

The views from the climb were spectacular, and even though it was a bit misty, we could see for miles from the summit. We’ve climbed so many mountains over the past few months that our fitness is really beginning to show, we overtook several riders sitting on several thousand Euros worth of carbon. It must have been quite disheartening for them.

The descent to Malaucène was a real pleasure before we enjoyed a comparatively flat ride to Bollène where we’ve checked into a hotel and restaurant.

We stopped for a coffee in Sault before we began the climb of Ventoux

We stopped for a coffee in Sault before we began the climb of Ventoux

15 kms to go, there's one of these altitude markers every km on Ventoux

15 kms to go, there’s one of these altitude markers every km on Ventoux

There were loads of cyclists at le Chalet-Reynard, about 400m from the top

There were loads of cyclists at le Chalet-Reynard, about 400m from the top

Above the tree line the landscape looks a bit strange, a bit like being on the moon

Above the tree line the landscape looks a bit strange, a bit like being on the moon

The memorial to Tom Simpson, with just over a km to the summit

The memorial to Tom Simpson, with just over a km to the summit

The barren landscape on Mont Ventoux

The barren landscape on Mont Ventoux

Mont Ventoux is a magnet for cyclists throughout the summer

Mont Ventoux is a magnet for cyclists throughout the summer

Malaucène, it's much warmer down here

Malaucène, it’s much warmer down here

Nice and flat for a change; we're crossing the wide Rhône valley which separates the Massif Central from the French Alps

Nice and flat for a change; we’re crossing the wide Rhône valley which separates the Massif Central from the French Alps

 

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