“Routes des Ventoux” Cyclosportive


Today I rode the “Routes des Ventoux” cyclosportive. About 150 kilometres and 3000 metres (10,000 feet) of climb.

This was fun! I knew climbing Ventoux would be epic but I didn’t expect the rest of the route to be so beautiful (map at bottom).

Starting in Villes-sur-Auzon, the first 30 kilometres or so were fast and a little hilly – including the tiny Col de la Madeleine – and then we arrived at base of Mont Ventoux on the Malaucene side.

Mont Ventoux

This is a monster. 21 kilometres and 1550 metres ascent (well over 5000 feet). I worked pretty hard and knocked over 10 minutes off the previous time I climbed this side. I guess all these events are paying off.

The descent to Sault is about 26 kilometres. It was a little hairy with the wind up high and VERY bumpy lower down. As usual I was pretty cautious and lots of familiar bums passed me.

At Sault the route split with the short course heading back, and the long route doing some more climbing. As I turned left, EVERYONE around me headed for the short route – cowards. I was all alone!

Col de l'Homme Mort

After a while, the climb up to Col de l’Homme Mort (Dead Man”s Pass!) started. It’s a beautiful climb – fortunately not too steep. There are great views of the backside of Ventoux throughout. I was getting worried that the water / food station might have packed up – and I needed refilling. Was I in last?

But when I arrived (just short of the Col), we spied a bunch of riders behind me and the guy snapped a photo (at right) with a distant Ventoux over my shoulder. And a push to restart as well. Nice!

At the Col only 50 (!?) kilometres to go.

The next 30 were fast – even I broke 60 kph at one point (that’s like 80 for a normal rider)!

Cliff Cycling

Then a final surprise – the last 20 kilometres or so went through the most amazing place. The Gorges de la Nesque. The best way to describe it would be a little “Grand Canyon.” It wasn’t steep – and I was descending – but on a superb cliff road with vertiginous views. Unfortunately I only snapped one quick pic as I was trying to stay with a group – but look at that road!

Below: Ventoux looking south from the top.

Lots of Col sign photos including “Dead Man’s Pass”

I like getting Col signs! The 4th is smudgy as the guy at the water break gave me some grapes and I dumped them in my camera pocket. Ooops.

Col de la Madeleine Mont Ventoux Col des Tempetes Col de Macuègne Dead Man's Pass


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Happiest while cycling uphill.


  1. Will
    looks like a super event, I’ve only done Ventoux from the Bedoin side. I need to get back there again.
    If you have a decent list of european cyclosportifs if would be great if you could blog the list. I keep finding out about events the week after they take place..

  2. Thomas

    I am no cyclo expert but I use the following

    1. http://www.velo101.com is a french site that lists and allows online registration for most French events

    2. http://www.datasport.ch is a Swiss German/French language site that has running/triathlon/cycling events mainly in Switzerland but also Austria, Germany and Italy. It also allows online registration

    3. http://www.sportcommunication.com sponsors The “Grand Trophéé. A series of French events including “La Marmotte” with online registration

    4. Most French cycling magazines have a big Cyclosportive section. I am sure it is the same near you

    http://www.cyclosportive.com is a French magazine (not always updated) that lists loads of events

  3. Hi, Will!

    “Lucky you” to live in cyclist’s paradise and congrats for another cyclosportif! Although I’ve already spent 10months in Geneva-Region (with only 3 more weeks to go :-(), I never made it to the Ventoux. Which is obviously no surprise, with all these cols and climbs right in front of one’s nose. But postponed ist not abandoned…!
    If you don’t mind I will add three more cyclosportifs of which I think they are both: a severe challenge to any cyclist and nice, well-organized events with participants from all over europe.
    http://www.maratona.it (more than 8000 cyclists, 140km, 4400m of vertical ascent; includes the sella-ronda)
    http://www.oetztaler-radmarathon.com (limited to 3500 cyclists, 238km,5500m of vertical ascent; together with the Maratona dles Dolomites and LaMarmotte the King of Cylcosportif)
    http://www.girodolomiti.com (6 mountain stages in the Bozen-Area(with a rest day in between); basically the stages are rather picnic-rides, except for one climb which is chosen to be a mountain-time-trial)

    Bonne Route and always have a safe ride…

  4. Hello Alex

    Thanks very much for the suggestions. I am a cyclosportive newcomer and I am really hoping to finally visit the dolomites next year. And the Oztaler looks fantastic.

    And yes, you are correct. Cycling paradise here.


  5. Ahh, the usual beautiful views of Ventoux – but it’s always so windy up there! Well done though, that’s an impressive loop you did there.

  6. Pingback: La Ventoux Beaumes de Venise Cyclosportive : Cycling Challenge

  7. Pingback: Les Gorges de la Nesque : Cycling Challenge

  8. Pingback: Mont Ventoux – A More Detailed Look

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