3 years ago10,000+ Views
Mont Ventoux: The Witches' Cauldron
As The Tour de France moves on through France, it begins to offer some of the most challenging racing, grueling climbs, and iconic landscapes in cycling. Speaking for grueling climbs, surely Mont Ventoux is on that list. Here is a short film to follow up the Alpe D'Huez video posted last week. Here's the script written by Daniel Friebe: "If a climb's difficulty was measured by the number of epithets it has inspired, Mont Ventoux would tower above every other mountain. "The witches cauldron", "the despot of cyclists" and ­ most famously, what French philosopher Roland Barthes called a "God of Evil demanding sacrifice" ­the Ventoux is the bane of cyclists and a gift to myth makers. Rising nearly to nearly 2000 metres above the Rhône Basin, the Giant of Provence dominates the skyline across a huge swathe of south­east France. Attacked from Bédoin, it begins innocuously enough before the tiny hamlet of St­ Estève and a left hand bend where the road rears up sharply into the forest. Nine demoralisingly straight and steep kilometres end at the Chalet Reynard, then a different Ventoux reveals itself. Exposed. Windswept. Suffocatingly hot. It was on these bare upper slopes that one of professional cycling's darkest, most notorious chapters played out in the 1967 Tour de France: the Englishman, Tom Simpson, zigzagging wildly across the road then toppling to his death. Was it drugs that killed Simpson, the heat, or the Ventoux? To varying degrees, no doubt, a combination of all three... Are there really dark forces swirling up in there in the Mistral wind? An airlessness not fully explained by the altitude? Eddy Merckx and Chris Froome both needed oxygen masks after winning here ­ but another famous conqueror of the Ventoux, Jean­François Bernard, sniffs that "all this stuff about a lack of air up there is complete nonsense." What no one disputes is that the Ventoux is a brute. The big, unfriendly giant of Provence."
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I'd love to attempt to climb this. I say attempt because I don't know if I'd actually get all the way up it!
3 years ago·Reply