Monday, March 27
As one of the most revered and legendary climbs in the world, Mont Ventoux has rooted itself deep into the history of cycling. It's rough terrain and notably ferocious winds make it a formidable prospect for anyone.
While for many of us, taking on the Ventoux centres on purely just making it to the weather station at the top in one piece, the professionals have been racing into the wind as fast they can since the mountain was first used in the 1951 Tour de France.
But how do the pros stats look on the Ventoux? We take a look at some the more recent ascents of the mountain and analyse the pros with our RiTMO scale.
Arguably, Chris Froome's performance during stage 15 of the Tour de France - which finished atop the Ventoux - was the defining moment of his first grand tour victory. Who wasn't impressed when, with legs spinning like a maniac, Froome powered past GC contenders Alberto Contador and Nairo Quintana to take the stage win?
Froome’s ascent of the plus 21km ascent took him dead on 59 minutes, making it the 23rd fastest ascent of the mountain recorded. Although, considering three of the top 20 times were posted by Lance Armstrong, we’ll push Froome in to the top 20 for arguments sake.
Averaging over 21km/h uphill is something many of us can keep up but for a couple of minutes (maybe not even that in CW.CC’s case), and that colossal speed earned Froome a RiTMO score of 8.6…
Wait…what? I know what you’re thinking; that doesn’t seem that low at all. But since we’re measuring the ride from the bottom of the climb to the top, rather than including the 200-odd kilometres Froome rode prior to that, we can get a more accurate sense of all the riders’ performances on the climb. In fact, the whole stage itself was so difficult and ridden so quickly, that even Mark Cavendish achieved a 0.0 RiTMO – on a mountain stage.
Speaking of Cavendish, let’s put Froome’s ride into perspective. As one of the best sprinters in the world, we wouldn’t expect Cav to be challenging for the gong of fastest time here, but finishing the climb in 01:31:36 is still a decent effort, particularly considering the length of the stage beforehand. That ride, averaging just over 14km/h gave the former world champion a RiTMO score of 20.1, demonstrating just how difficult the 7.5% average gradient segment is.
The slowest man up the Ventoux in 2013 was Jonathan Hivert of Sojasun, who finished almost 20 minutes after the next best placed rider, in a time of 01:49:21. I’d still take the 22.8 RiTMO Hivert gained on that climb, but it seems obvious the Frenchman wasn’t receiving any help from the gruppetto as he tried to make the stage cut-off time.
The fastest ever time up the Ventoux was set in 2004 during the Critérium du Dauphiné. The stage that took in the mountain that year was an individual time trial from top to bottom, and Spaniard Iban Mayo set a new fastest time of 55.51.
What’s the best ride you’ve ever seen up the legendary Mont Ventoux? Have you ever ridden it yourself? If you have, let us know your RiTMO score on the climb or your time and we’ll give you a score, so you can see how you compare to good and the not so good.