Mont Ventoux Weekend
Experience the stunning Vaucluse region and tackle the legendary slopes of ‘le géant de Provence’
Mont Ventoux – or ‘le géant de Provence’ – lies in the heart of the picturesque Vaucluse region in southern France. Famed for an abundance of ancient vineyards, and the vivid purple of its lavender fields, not to mention the unique moonscape of‘le mont Chauve’ itself, the Vaucluse is a must for any cycling enthusiast. Our Mont Ventoux Weekend, carefully designed on the basis of our intimate local knowledge, will allow you to appreciate the best of what the area has to offer in just two days. Day one comprises a ride around le géant, taking in a number of smaller cols en route. On day two, we will tackle theVentoux’s mythical slopes, and return via the spectacular Gorges de la Nesque.
On the road you will be supported by our professional guides and acclaimed logistical service, enabling you to focus on simply enjoying the ride. Accommodation is in a charming and comfortable four-star hotel in the village of Mazan, allowing for easy access to the surrounding countryside.
Friday: Arrive into Marseille airport
Arriving at Marseille airport in the mid afternoon, a private transfer will take you to our hotel in Mazan. Expect a journey time of approximately 1hour 30 minutes. We gather for dinner in the early evening in the hotel restaurant, where traditional French cuisine is served.
Saturday: Tour du Mont Ventoux
Major Climbs: Col de Notre-Dame des Abeilles (994m) 13.1km at 4.4% (max 7.1%); Col des Aires (640m) 3.1km at 2.9%;Col de Fontaube (635m); Col de la Madeleine (451m) 5.6km at 2.2%
Leaving Mazan in the early morning, a 10km warm up brings us to the village of Flassan where we start the first climb of the day, the Col de Notre-Dame des Abeilles. The road is quiet and while the climb is long, it has a relatively gentle and consistent gradient. From here, you will be afforded spectacular views of the scree slopes of Mont Ventoux.
A short descent then takes us to the town of Sault, from which point we ride north, skirting the Ventoux’s eastern flank. At around the 50km point we begin to head west up the Vallée du Toulourenc. The road twists up the valley to the Col des Aires, and from here a short ride over a plateau sees us summit the Col de Fontaube, the dividing line between theVaucluse and Drôme regions. The descent of the Fontaube is fantastic, with sweeping corners and a good road surface.
Crossing back into the Vaucluse we then ride into the beautiful Dentelles de Montmirail, a series of jagged and distinctive peaks that form the foothills of the Ventoux. Here we ascend the final climb of the day, the Col de la Madeleine (not to be confused with its significantly more challenging namesake situated in the Savoie). Once over the top, a descent through stone pine forests and vineyards takes us back to the hotel.
Sunday: Mont Ventoux
Major Climbs: Mont Ventoux (1,912m) 21.4km at 7.6% (max 12%)
“The Ventoux is a god of Evil, to which sacrifices must be made. It never forgives weakness and extracts an unfair tribute of suffering.” – Roland Barthes, French philosopher and bicycle racing fan
While Barthes might have been a little melodramatic in his description of the Ventoux, there is little doubt that it is one of the most challenging climbs in France, averaging 7.6% for over 21km. On day two, we will climb the most well-known of the roads leading to its summit, departing from the village of Bedoin on the southern side of the mountain. The section to the tree line at Chalet-Reynard is the toughest, with a number of kilometres averaging closer to 10%. However, once you reach the dramatic and exposed scree fields, the often-strong Mistral winds can increase the difficulty. Please note that in the event of poor weather, we will not continue from Chalet Reynard to the summit.
At the summit, we turn around and ride back down the same road to Chalet-Reynard. We then continue the descent down the least steep side of le mont Chauve to Sault. From Sault, we enter the sublimely beautiful Gorges de la Nesque, a 20km limestone canyon formed by the river Nesque. The road clings to the edge of a precipice and descends steadily through a series of short tunnels, bringing us out eventually in the village of Villes-sur-Auzon. A short flat ride then takes us back to the hotel in Mazan.
There will be time to shower, and our staff will assist with the packing of your bike before a private transfer takes you to Marseille airport for flights departing from 8.00pm onwards.
The Price Includes
- Private airport transfers
- Four start hotel accommodation
- Assistance to assemble & pack your bike
- All meals and sports nutrition
- Professional mechanic
- Experienced guides & staff
- Professionally equipped support vehicles
- Complimentary products for use on the trip
- Client to staff ratio of 4-1