mont ventoux

Spectre of le GĂ©ant looming for TdF riders

Posted on Updated on

Mount Ventoux is the highest peak of the Vaucluse, reaching 1, 912 meters. It’s the most feared climb on the TdF and this year it’s the penultimate stage. This is the climb that will select the riders on the podium in Paris.

Specter of Mont Ventoux looming for Tour de France riders

ventoux1One cruel, spooky and mystical peak stands between the riders in the Tour de France and their finale on the Champs Elysees.

Before sipping champagne they must swallow pain on one last climb, the toughest of the 2,174-mile race.

Mont Ventoux looms as the implacable star of Saturday’s Stage 20. Called the “Bald Mountain” and the “Giant of Provence,” it rises 6,273 feet above the Comtadine Plains. It appears to be snow-capped because of its barren, limestone slopes, stripped of trees by shipbuilders centuries ago. It challenges cyclists with its steep, nearly hour-long ascent, often in torrid heat and buffeting winds.

Tour organizers chose Mont Ventoux for the penultimate stage to create suspense.

“It’s the piece de resistance, ridiculous and exciting,” said TV commentator Paul Sherwen, who rode the mountain as a pro. “It’s a very sadomasochistic choice.”