One of the queen stages of this Tour de France will take place between Sorgues and Malaucène, this Wednesday, with the attraction of the unprecedented double ascent of Mont Ventoux.
“I don’t know why we’re going to do it twice.” The world champion in person Julian Alaphilippe showed incomprehension, with a certain irony, when talking about the double ascent of Mont Ventoux this Wednesday on the 11th stage of the Tour de France. “I think it will be way too hard for me, confessed the French. I will already enjoy it, I hope it will not be that bad.”
Indeed, this unprecedented double dose could be digested more easily than expected since the runners will first climb the “Mont Chauve” on the slope of Sault, more rolling (1st category, 22 km at 5.1%) than the classic climb and borrowed only once in the history of the Tour, in 1974. “The least rough of the three routes which lead to Ventoux”, according to the sporting director of the race Christian Prudhomme at the microphone of RMC.
Another peculiarity, the arrival at the bottom of the descent
About thirty kilometers later, the peloton will have to face the second ascent of Ventoux, this time on the south side, by the traditional Bédoin slope (out of category), shorter (15.7 km) but steeper (8.8 % on average). An additional novelty, the finish of this stage will not be judged at the top but twenty kilometers later, at the bottom of the descent.
How to explain such a choice? The race director believes that this “desire to climb twice and arrive at the bottom of Malaucène” translates into a desire to “show all the faces, all the slopes of the Ventoux which is a myth for so many lovers of the Tour de France who come to ride there “, recalling in passing that the top of” Mont Chauve “will soon be reserved for pedestrians and cyclists.
A security issue, too
Tracing the finish line at Malaucène also has an advantage for the organization, since it ensures the safety of the runners and the public by limiting the crowds on the slopes of the climb. All this obviously thinking of the last visit of the Tour to Ventoux in 2016 and that unfortunate episode when the yellow jersey Chris Froome was found on foot.
“The Ventoux is legendary, but the last few times it had been hectic, we all remember it,” Prudhomme explained to The team. So there is also the will to ventilate, to disseminate, to distribute, we can put people everywhere. “With these two climbs in addition to the Col de la Liguière (9.3 km at 6.7%) and A long descent before the finish, the interest of a race so far crushed by Tadej Pogacar could also be revived somewhat This 11th stage, unprecedented in more than one respect, could well be worth the detour.