It was Thursday, July 13, 2000 in the afternoon and Marco Pantani looked furiously around him. Il Elefantino, the elephant, was the first to have passed the line on top of Mont Ventoux, but he was far from happy. In fact, the Italian climber with his bald head and flapors could kill anyone. Lance Armstrong to be precise. In the twelfth stage of the 87ste Tour de France had jumped Pantani on the flanks of the mythical mountain. It looked impressive as yellow truid -carrier Armstrong rode him a little later and took the head. Armstrong was much stronger and sometimes seemed to wait if Pantani could not keep his rear wheel. It was therefore surprising that Armstrong did not win. As a tribute for Pantani's return to the bike after a period full of Malheur, the Texan clearly left the victory to the breed climber, something that Armstrong later also admitted. A larger humiliation was unthinkable for Marco Pantani. A champion like he gave you no gifts, certainly not in a queen ride, and certainly not on top of the mountain of mountains.

The Col du Tourmalet is higher, Alpe d’Huez Steiler, the Col de la Madeleine Longer, but none of those mountains has the attraction of Mont Ventoux, which towers majestically above the flat landscape of the Vaucluse department in Provence. It is the strange lunar landscape at the top, the treacherous rapidly changing weather conditions, and its fearing past full of fear, suffering and tragedy and for a few heroism and triumph. And death. Anyone who says Mont Ventoux says Tommy Simpson, the Brit who died in the Tour de France of 1967 on the way up. But even in the climbs before and after that fatal day, it didn't make much of it or riders had not survived the ride to the top at 1912 meters. In the murderous heat during a Tour stage in 1955, Ferdi Kübler drove much too fast. A fellow refugee warned him: "The Ventoux is not a mountain like everyone else." The Swiss Tour winner of 1950 did not listen, chased itself over the head and was so exhausted that he fell over and after getting up the peloton. After that trip over Mont Ventoux, he no longer drove a dent in a packet of butter. Jean Malléjac never cycled again after the same climb. He fell unconscious from the bike and was barely rescued by the Tourarts. The large Eddy Merckx also had to be ventilated in an ambulance after his victory in 1970.

Michael Boogerd called Mont Ventoux a scary thing. "You feel void. As if you are coming to the moon. The limestone and the observatoire, the characteristic white tower with the cylinder on the roof, give the landscape a grim character. "The weather on 'the sugar bread', such as the bare mountain with the white of the snow and limestone on the top be called, can be grim and erratic. When Boogerd De Mont Ventoux (freely translated: 'Windige Berg') in 2000 climbed during the Tour de France, it was 35 degrees on the foot, on top only 3. And he also knows the stories of quoted races through a suddenly rising wind Where riders had to lie flat on the floor with their material to not get rid of it. "You never know above that."

"Above that" is above the tree line where the wind has free rein. If the climber has a rough one to hit again, the heaviest part of the climb starts there, the last 6 kilometers by 8.5% rise. But on normal days, the cursing is the hardest after the sharp bend at the village of Saint-Estève, during the 10 kilometers through the forest, once described as "a small green hell with a black stripe asphalt." Experience expert and writer Tim Krabbé still does not know how you can find the rhythm in the stifling and stuffy forest, but he always managed to come up.


Sports nutrition information

Where can you eat well during the climb of Mont Ventoux (from Bedoin)?

  • In the first 2.5 kilometers of the climb.
  • Try to eat as well as can eat during the next kilometers. You are constantly at 10% slope
  • At Chalet Renard. You come here in a parking lot that is almost completely flat.
Tip: halfway between Chalet Renard and the top is a water point.