The riders clip into their pedals in Sorgues. The first 75 kilometres are far from flat, but the real uphill action begins at the foot of the Col de la Liguière, which is a 9.3 kilometres climb at 6.7%. The route then descends slightly for 12.5 kilometres to enter Sault. Perched on a rocky outcrop and amidst fields of lavender, the fortified village is the start of the sweetest route up the Beast of the Provence: 24.3 kilometres at 5%.
The riders fly down the Ventoux to move through Malaucène for the first time. Another 12.5 kilometres on rolling roads later the riders reach Bédoin, which is where the Ventoux begins for real. On this side the ascent is 15.7 kilometres long and the average gradient sits at 8.8%.
The first section through the woods is extremely tough – 3 kilometres at 10% – before it ‘levels out’ to 7.5% in the following 7 kilometres. After Chalet Reynard the scenery changes to a lunar landscape without any vegetation, as if climbing the moon. This section is roughly 6 kilometres long and rises at almost 8%. The last 2 kilometres go up at 9.5%.
The last Tour de France stage winner on Mont Ventoux was Thomas De Gendt. In 2016, the stage was shortened and finished at Chalet Reynard, since wind gusts reached 130 kilometres per hour on the bald section of the Bald Mountain. Meanwhile, Chris Froome crashed on the lower slopes, which inspired him to an unforgetable version of ‘Run to the hills’.
Tour de France 2021 stage 11: profiles, more
Click on the images to zoom