Saturday, July 25, 2009

Tour de France Stage 20 Profile: Ventoux

SHOOT: Mont ventoux is going to be make or break for a bunch of riders. Armstrong made an extra 4 seconds on all the contenders in the final few metres of stage 19. He's going to need all of those seconds on this monster. the summit of the 1912-metre Mont Ventoux - aka the Giant of Provence, one of the most feared climbs in cycling.

It was on the sun-baked scree slopes that British rider Tom Simpson collapsed and died in 1967. The 21.2km climb, which can be seen from kilometres away in many directions and works its way through a forest for the first half before opening into a barren final haul, is torturous. It has 7.6 per cent average gradient and lacks switchbacks which can offer relief.

Often there are also strong headwinds, and the suffocating humidity and heat of a Provencal summer.
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