Note: this article is not the blathering that you are used to, but to promote a tour that my company, 44|5 Cycling Tours, is running later in the year. Crap commentary and bad photos will return soon, promise.
You might not have noticed the explosion in the number of timed cycling events (or ‘races’, depending on who you ask) in the world these days, but in the last year or two alone we’ve seen exponential growth in these things in Europe. Old standbys, like the Marmotte, are now pushing to brand themselves to a wider audience and have been adding new events to the calendar. In the case of the Marmotte, what was for over 30 years only one giant day in the Alps, is now also in the Pyrenees and Switzerland.
The Haute Route series is no different. Actually, they have been at the forefront of this and have been expanding and changing every year since they began in 2011. From their humble beginnings with one super-hard 7-day event in the Alps, they now have two categories of events: the traditional week-long, and the new 3-day day format. In total there are 11 races to choose from on two continents.
Haute Route Ventoux is in the latter category, with 3 timed stages held over a long weekend in early October (5th-7th in 2018). Each stage takes in the outstanding roads that surround Mont Ventoux, with one being to south into the Luberon Valley and another that loops through the quiet, challenging northern hinterlands. The last stage is a time time trial straight up the Tour de France climb of Ventoux, from the village of Bédoin.
In fact, you end up climbing Le Geant from all 3 sides over the weekend, with every stage finishing on the summit. At least that’s how it was supposed to be last year, but a ferocious Mistral meant the peloton could only get to the top once. Even with this ‘bad luck’, it was still an awesome weekend.
We don’t know the routes for 2018 yet, but we imagine they’ll look similar, if they stick to the same ‘3 ascents’ format (which we are sure they will). Here were the numbers from last year.
- Stage One: 110 km with 2770 m of ascent (Ventoux climbed from Sault)
- Stage Two: 140 km with 3300 m of ascent (Ventoux climbed from Malaucène)
- Stage Three: 21.5 km with 1580 m of ascent (Ventoux climbed from Bédoin)
44|5 Cycling Tours is an Official Tour Operator of Haute Route and we offer a travel package that includes entry to the event (or not, if you’ve already bought it), accommodation in a lovely guesthouse in the vines, all transfers, delicious meals, and a feed station on each stage.
Haute Route Ventoux can certainly be done solo, but if you want to come down and just concentrate on riding for 3 days, we’ll make sure you don’t have to think about anything else. Contact Gerry or John for details.