Mont Ventoux is the most famous mountain in cycling. A regular Tour de France highlight. A magnet for cyclists the world over who want to cycle up it's iconic slopes. 
VELOVENTOUX is based in Mont Ventoux’s shadow, in the beautiful village of Faucon, and run by British cycling aficionado Craig Entwistle and his wife Vicky.
We have thousands of kilometres of fantastic bike routes right on our doorstep. We provide not just bed and breakfast, but all the advice and support you need to get the most out of your French cycling tour and all our expertise to give you the best cycling holiday in France.
We cater for all abilities, from pottering around through the vineyards to cyclosportives and full on training camps, or taking on Ventoux and Alpe d’Huez - and everything in between - in a single day.

Contrary to popular belief Mont Ventoux does not rise up on it's own in the middle of a flat plain. Although not on a scale like The Alps or the Pyrenees, the hills and mountains surrounding Mont Ventoux on all 4 sides are stunning and perfectly situated to offer fantastic cycling of varying difficulty from the Veloventoux accommodation.
If you want an easier day in the saddle, to the west it's easy enough to cycle out onto the flatter Cotes du Rhone vineyards.

The hills immediately to the north of Mont Ventoux are known as The Baronnies and this whole part of the Drome department was recently granted regional park status. The Drome department council have recently given all the cycling cols in the area their very own information signs. These climbs range from short 2.5km climbs like the Col de Propiac to the 9km Col de Soubeyrand. It really is a cyclist's paradise.

Below we have detailed everything you need to know about cycling in Provence from Mont Ventoux gradients and profiles to weather conditions.




Cycling Mont Ventoux

There are 3 classic cycling routes up to the summit of Mont Ventoux and all the info you need to climb these three ways is highlighted below. For Ventoux afficionados there's a fourth way know as the Route Forestiere - more
on this later.

  Bedoin Malaucene Sault
Distance
21.5km
21.2km 25.7km
Average %
7.8% 7.4% 4.5%
Total Elevation 1610m 1535m 1150m


The Bedoin Climb

The ascent from Bedoin is the classic way up the mountain. The length of the climb from Bedoin at 300m asl to the summit at 1912m is 21.5km . This gives an elevation of 1612m and an average gradient of 7.5%. This doesn't sound too bad but when you break the climb down into its 3 obvious sections it paints a different picture.

From Bedoin at 300m it is 5.5km to St. Esteve at 541m. This gives an elevation of 241m and an average gradient of just 4.4%.

So why the bad reputation? Well, the next section, the infamous forest has the answer. From St. Esteve at 541m it is 9.5km to Chalet Reynard at 1417m. This gives an average gradient of over 9% for the whole of this section. It is also worth remembrering that this 9% is not constant as there are a few sections as low a 7% and many over 11% and 12%.

The last 6km from Chalet Reynard are much easier than the forest section but also much more exposed and weather dependent. This section has the reputation of being very windy. However it works both ways and quite often a nice tail wind will help you to the top. As you leave Chalet Reynard you have a short steep section but as you round the first bend there is a noticeable drop in gradient with an average of approximately 7% for the next 4.5km. If you are very lucky you will have a tail wind and it will be possible to fly up this part of the climb. If you are unlucky you will be battling into the wind all the way to the top and it will feel like 12% again. The last 1500m from the Simpson Memorial are steep again at 10% but by this time you won't really care.

We can argue until the cows come home which is harder, the Bedoin side or the Malaucene side. What we do know is that both sides are long and hard.



The Malaucene Climb

Starting in Malaucene at 360m you have approximately 1.5km of a gentle warm up then as you pass the cafe on the right of the road at The Groseau the road steepens to over 9% for 2km to 500m. Here you get some respite with a nice section of 3, 4, 5 and 6% gradients up until the 10km point.

Here it kicks and the gradient once again goes over 10% (with some 12%) for 4km - a killer section!
This is a very hard part of the climb, as you pass the water tank and the concrete shed the road swings right then left then you can see straight ahead for a kilometre at over 10%. The road then twists slightly at a layby then a welcome rest section of an almost flat kilometre as you pass the mini roundabout and the cafe at Chalet Liotard.

0.75km of steep climbing then a sharp hairpin left leads to a nice long 6 and 7% section with the steep ski pistes dropping down to your left. As you leave the trees you are greeted with a fantastic view of the tower still 250m above your head. The last two hairpins steepen again with magnificent views to the North where on a clear day the Alps form a fantastic backdrop.




The Sault Climb

The ascent from Sault is the easiest of the 3 popular ascents. There are two reasons for this. First the elevation is much less because the start of the ascent from Sault is at a height of 694m. Secondly, the overall distance is longer than the other two at 26km. This means that the first 20km of the climb from Sault at 694m to Chalet Reynard at 1417m with a total elevation of 723m, has an average gradient of just 3.6%. You still need to climb the last 6km from Chalet Reynard to the summit but you arrive at Chalet Reynard in much better condition than if you have just slogged up through the forest from Bedoin.


After a short descent out of Sault you start the climb up through the lavender fields then a few short sharp sections lead up into the forest from where it becomes a bit of a boring haul. The road then sweeps left at 1263m where a gentle section trends south to the viewpoint and belvedere at 1327m. From here to Chalet Reynard the gradient is very gentle and the last 2km are almost flat.

The last 6km from Chalet Reynard are exactly the same as the Bedoin route. It is a section that is very exposed and weather dependent and has the reputation of being very windy. On leaving Chalet Reynard there is a short steep section but rounding the first bend you notice a significant drop in gradient with an average of approximately 7% for the next 4.5km. The last part from the Simpson Memorial rears up again and the last 1500 metres are at an average of 10% gradient.

The Route Forestiere

Also know as the fourth way up, the route forestiere comes with it's own dificulties. To start the climb you must also climb the Bedoin route, as normal for 9km after which there's a large turning into the forest on your left. Take this left turn and follow the road for a further 11km. Initially the surface is good but the tarmac becomes more and more broken until you're almost 100% cycling on gravel and stones. After a while there are some steep hairpins but then after a gentle section you arrive at a hairpin bend on the Malaucene climb approximately 1km above Mont Serein. From here you take the road for the last 4.5km to the summit.

The Baronnies Regional Park

When we arrived in this region in 2002 we knew that it was a special place for road cycling and not just about Mont Ventoux. In 2015 the Parc Naturel Régional des Baronnies Provencale was created and since then money has been spent on enhancing the cycling experience in the area. As well as improving road surfaces probably the best addition has been in the Drome department where all our local cols have been given information signs like in the image below.

From our doorstep we have classic rides from 20km one hour loops to 200km hill fests. It really is a cyclist's paradise.

Col signs in The Drome department




The gorge at the bottom of the Col de Fromegere


Looking towards The Alps from The Montagne de Lure

Velo Roussillon Training Camp May 2019