We are in for a great Etape – exciting, challenging and beautiful!
After the rolling start, riders will build up to a good speed for the in the first 7 miles as we approach the first hill – Cote de Citelle. This is a pleasant climb, not be a hard climb, not too steep, climbing gently for 3 miles to our first col of 430 metres. Just right for a warm up! The views in that area are beautiful.
After the descent there is a more subtle problem – a gently rising false flat, exposed to any winds there may be – a good time to be in a peloton! The road becomes a proper climb for the last section before Rousset-les Vignes. The descent into Nyons, 45 Km into the ride, should be welcome, as it is over 5 miles long!
After Nyons there is another long false flat, which may fool you into thinking you are not able to ride fast enough on this apparently flat road, which climbs almost imperceptibly. When you are 4 miles from Col d’Ey you will not doubt that you are climbing! The first real etape du tour climb! There will be superb 8 mile descent to look forward to, down to the feeding station at Buis-les-Baronnies. So far you have completed nearly 50 miles, and should expect to arrive before 11:12 am.
That food will be needed – for here the fun starts – a series of hills takes you up to Sault then on to Col d’Abeilles.
The first one is a very pleasant climb up to Col de Fontaube, followed by the short satisfying ascent to Aires. A reasonable 3 mile climb to Aurel follows, then the beautiful descent to the welcome water top up station at Sault, hopefully arriving before 13:00 to avoid elimination!
Sault is one of the jewels of Provence, famous for its lavender shop featured on many calendars. As we climb up the steep ramps from Sault, the views of the surrounding lavender fields will become more extensive far below.
The climb is quite steep in places. On reaching the top, the views are breathtaking – the road drops away in 10 mile steep descent – keep to the right if you are a slow descender! If you are a fast descender, this will be a highlight – but take care!
Having at last reached the valley and passed through Mormoiron, we reach Bedoin, where there is a food and drink station for you to top up before the climb. Here the climb up Ventoux begins. For the first four miles, the climb is modest. After the Virage (bend) de St Esteve, the real climb starts, with 6.25 miles of steady gradient in the 8% to 10% region, the steepest section being 2km of 10%.
The climb is through shady forest land, until we reach Chalet Reynard
Here the famous wind swept white limestone lunar landscape of
Ventoux begins. Water will be available here. Suddenly we will be in an open landscape, vulnerable to the weather as we ride the final 4 miles to the summit!
You will be able to recuperate in the Arrival Village at Mont Serein a few Km below the summit.