In a twist, the Tour de France organizers have decided to make the previous stage to Paris a showdown on Mont Ventoux. In the recent past there has been a time trial which meant the climbers would have to make time on the time trialists in the preceeding stages. Now the shoe will be on the on the foot, with the time trialists having to make time on the climbers before reaching Mont Ventoux.
Click on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th photos above to get a sense of the scale of Mont Ventoux....the small objects are cyclists coming up! Our trip in June, 2006, with Eros Poli's group to Mont Ventoux was blessed with fantastic weather. At the top of Mont Ventoux is a large antenna/telecommunications facility.
The French have their own "granfondo" type of events. This sp3ecific one is called "L'Etape du Tour" (http://www.letapedutour.com/2009/ETDT/presentation/us/index.htm) and in 2009 it's returning to Mont Ventoux: "9 years after the dramatic experience of the 8th edition, the Etape du Tour Mondovélo is coming back on the "Géant de Provence". In July 2000, the second part of the race was stopped by the organisers because of the weather on the summit (1° C and hail storm). On the 20th of July, you will start from Montélimar (Drôme) to the Mont Ventoux summit, after 172 km and 4 climbs (côte de Citelle, col d'Ey, col de Fontaube, col de Notre-Dame des Abeilles).The race will be on the Monday 20th of July.The host village will take place in the Montélimar centre on the 18th and 19th of July.The finish village will take place in the Mont Serein. ASO, the company in charge of the organisation of "l’Etape du Tour" and "l’Etape Légende" has decided to give the management of the logistical aspects to France Sport for the preparation camps of the two events. Those camps will aim at procuring a better preparation for those 2 difficult events. They will allow numerous cyclists to discover the passes as well as magnificent mountain landscapes, a few weeks before the events." L'Etape 2009 route:
Which is a reminder: the weather on mountain tops and passes can be very unpredictable even in summer.
My Mont Ventoux ride description is here: