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We rode up the Tour de France’s Mont Ventoux climb – and it was terrible

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Ride24’s roving contributor, Steve Smith, very much not enjoying himself, on the legendary Ventoux climb. (Photo: Steve Smith)
Ride24’s roving contributor, Steve Smith, very much not enjoying himself, on the legendary Ventoux climb. (Photo: Steve Smith)

Ventoux is a weird mountain. It looks odd, it shouldn't really be there, and by all accounts, it doesn't really want you there either.

Known locally as Le Geant de Provence – The Giant of Provence – Ventoux resides unchallenged over the hilly Provencal plains. Neither part of the Alps, the Pyrenees or any other southern European range, this mountain rises out of nowhere to loom large above the landscape.

From a distance, it appears snowcapped - even in the summer heat - but you’re seeing a summit covered in grey limestone scree. Ventoux was left barren due to deforestation that started as far back as the 12th century, though various reforestation initiatives have seen the forest return to the lower slopes.

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