Video: Climbs to ride – Mont Ventoux

Mike Cotty tackles the Giant of Provence for the Col Collective

Mont Ventoux is nicknamed the Giant of Provence and it certainly comes with a giant reputation.

Steeped in Tour de France history, the climb attracts riders to its slopes year-on-year to push themselves on a grueling 21.8km ascent with an average gradient of 7.4 per cent.

A gentle opening lulls you into a false sense of security, before the roads ramp up fiercely and painfully, with the final six kilometres played out on a barren, rugged landscape with the observatory at the top tantalisingly towering over you.

Tom Simpson, Britain’s first world champion and also the first Brit to pull on the Tour de France yellow jersey, collapsed and died on Ventoux’s slopes during the 1967 Tour, with a memorial erected in his honour one kilometre from the finish.

It is also a climb which has played out some of the Tour de France’s most memorable stages – most recently Chris Froome powering away from Alberto Contador to strengthen his grip on the maillot jaune in 2013.

But just what is it like to tame the mythical mountain?

Sportive veteran Mike Cotty knows all about tackling the fierce slopes and the Col Collective video above guides you up the mountainside on a stunning day – the best Cotty claims to have ever seen.

“Such is the history of Ventoux, this is a climb that should never be taken lightly and needs full respect no matter what,” Cotty says.

“One word – unbelievable. Four words – you must ride it!”

Vital statistics

Start: Bédoin
Length: 21.8km
Summit: 1,912m
Elevation gain: 1,629m
Average gradient: 7.4%
Max gradient: 12%

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