Dreaming of Mont Ventoux
I can still feel the flurry of emotion inside of me whenever I read or hear about Mont Ventoux.
Its a renowned mountain in the Provence region of France that has witnessed many Tour de France battles. Mont Ventoux is legendary for being one of the most gruelling climbs in the Tour de France bicycle race. I was introduced to this great climb back in 1987 when a time trial stage finished atop of it.
It had the likes of Andy Hampsten crack and ended his quest for victory while riders Stephen Roche and Jean Francois Bernard elevated themselves into overall contention.
The climb ascends south from Bédoin: 1617 m over 21,8 km. This is the most famous and difficult ascent. They claim it will take about 2h30m for trained amateur riders as the pros take about 1h-1h15 min.
Its a legendary mountain top finish which has been very unforgiving to many riders because of its steep ascent and blowing winds. They have nicknamed it the "Giant of Provence." All riders will pass the monument dedicated to Tom Simpson, the great English rider who died on the Ventoux during the 1967 Tour de France, pushed by amphetamines to exceed the limits of his endurance.
To me, Mont Ventoux's greatest depiction of the pain and suffering it can dish out, was epically displayed by CBS's tour coverage back in 1987. I guarantee you it will stir some emotion inside of you. The voice of Phil Liggett accompanied by a score composed by Yanni made for a masterful piece of television coverage. I often relive that moment of how I felt watching this back in 1987 almost every day now. Its a great reminder of the passion I have re-captured for this great sport of cycling. I can't imagine how emotional I will be when I get an opportunity to venture up the Giant of Provence. I can't wait for that day.