The arrival on the Ventoux should have been the best of this Tour, but the last kilometers were deleted.
Stage twelve should be the most beautiful stage of this Tour. A fiery battle between Chris Froome and Nairo Quintana on the steep slopes of the cruel Mont Ventoux. Heroism amid a desolate moonscape of thousands of gray pebbles. Quatorze Juillet, the French national holiday was eagerly awaited. A historic battle is not to come. Of course, Froome and Quintana will still be engaged in a fierce struggle, in which they force each other to the limit. But the decor has changed: the organization decided to delete the last six kilometers of the climb. Just the kilometers that makes the climb so unique.
The reason for that decision was the bad weather forecast. At the weather station on the summit (1,912 meters) gusts of wind of over 100 kilometers per hour occur. Moreover, the temperature drops there to below four degrees. Too dangerous for the riders, a disappointed Christian Prudhomme, director of the Tour concluded.
The stage from Montpellier therefore ends at the restaurant Chalet Reynard, just below the tree line. From Bédoin it is a climb of 14 kilometers, with an average rise of over eight percent. After the first flat kilometers, however, the angle of inclination is more than ten percent.
Before the peloton arrives in Bédoin, the riders have done already 162 kilometers. Containing two climbs to be overcome. The probability that the riders in the top of the classification already get into trouble on the Côte de Gordes and the Col des Trois Termes, however, seems quite small.
According to the Tour book the Ventoux does not start in Bédoin, but at the church of Saint Estève, more than ten kilometers from Chalet Reynard. From there the riders immediately get the tough part, the first few kilometers rise up to 10 percent. During the climb the landscape is changing gradually from a wooded area to a barren plain.
SIMPSON, PANTANI AND OTHER GIANTS
The ascent of Mont Ventoux is a guarantee of cycling history. It was on the slopes of the Bald Mountain that Tom Simpson fell unconscious on a hot July 13, 1967 and died. To people who help him he said: ‘Put me back on my bike’. The British rider was 1.4 kilometers from the top at his bike, got up again, but collapsed a little further again. In the helicopter on the way to the hospital the Briton died at the age of 29 of a combination of heat, exhaustion and amphetamine use.
YouTube Tom Simpson Tour de France 1976
LANCE ARMSTRONG VERSUS MARCO PANTANI TOUR DE FRANCE 2000
Another story with tragic end was drafted in 2000 by the Italian Marco Pantani. Il Elefantino won the Tour in 1998, was put out of the Giro in 1999 due to high a hematocrit and came a year later for rehabilitation back to the Tour de France. Pantani was rehabilitated, but not the way he wanted. During the ascent of Mont Ventoux only Lance Armstrong could follow the Italian. The American thought Pantani to grant a favor to give him the victory, but that was against the sore leg of Il Elefantino who believes that he could win the stage too on his own. The showy gift of Armstrong felt as an arrogant humiliation for Pantani.
YouTube Lance Armstrong versus Marco Pantani Tour de France 2000.
From the current peloton only Chris Froome, the current wearer of the yellow jersey, knows what it’s like to arrive winning at the top of the Bald Mountain. The Briton did it in 2013.
YouTube Chris Froome Mont Ventoux, Tour de France 2013
DE TOUR DE FRANCE VAN 2016
The climb to the summit of Mont Ventoux was through the Mistral that is a very strong wind, moved to Chalet Reynard located 7 kilometers lower. At that spot of the climb the riders leaving to the wooded area and get into the barren desolate moonscape. In the long run-up to the Ventoux a large leading group is formed, without favorites, which the winner will emerge. On th Ventoux Froome goes in the attack. Quintana his largest competitor disappoints and loses time. The three riders, Chris Froome, Bauke Mollema and Richie Porte drive close behind the motors through the crowd. One of the motors has to stop suddenly because of a spectator blocking the road. The three riders collide with the motorcycle and fall to the ground. Mollema is the first who can continue his race. Froome’s bike being run over by a motor and is no longer usable. There is no material car behind the riders and Froome runs in a panic uphill without a bike.
The Belgian Thomas de Gendt has still plenty of time left and wins the stage. The jury gives Froome, which was past by by Quintana, his lost time back. Quintana comes further behind. Mollema which moves into second place is the big surprise.
- Chris Froome
- Bauke Mollema, 1 min 42
- Adam Yates, 2 min 47
YouTube Mont Ventoux