You’ve probably caught wind of this already, but on July 7th next year, Covid willing, we will see an epic Ventoux stage in the Tour de France. It’ll be 5 years since Le Tour has visited Le Géant, so they are right on time, and for 2021 they are doing something special: two climbs of Ventoux, with a downhill finish in Malaucène. At 5000 meters of climbing, it will be the biggest stage of the Tour in terms of denivelé.
Most of us are too young to remember, but Mont Ventoux was not always a summit finish. In the 16 times the Tour has climbed the mountain, it has only finished on the mountain 10 of them. The last time the Tour climbed Mont Ventoux without finishing somewhere on the mountain (remember the fateful 2016 stage where Froome jogged to Chalet Reynard) was back in 1994, so it’s nice to see something different for a change.
But the organizers didn’t do this because they wanted to. The local departmental (Vaucluse) authorities did not allow the Tour to finish on the summit because of the continuing work being done up there to ease traffic and open the place up to fit more people.
Starting in the village of Sorgues, the peloton will ride south down the Rhone Valley, turn left into the Luberon Valley, then head north to Sault and climb the mountain from the ‘easy’ side. They’ll then descend to Malaucène, ride over to Bédoin over the mini-me Col de la Madeleine, before attacking the traditional ascent. The novelty will of course be the descent, which is not technical, but viciously fast instead. It’ll be hard for anyone to make up time on this descent, unless he has harder nerves of steel than the guy in front of him.
It’s nice to have something to look forward to, even if there’s a 50% chance of it even happening.