300 riders this past weekend thought climbing legendary Mont Ventoux three time over three days at Haute Route Ventoux would be their toughest challenge – they were mistaken.
Mother Nature offered bigger challenges.
While Ventoux is formidable, it pales in comparison to battling cold, fog and the Mistral Wind of Provence for hours on end. Although Stage 1 did finish atop Ventoux, riders shivered and struggled through dense cold fog on the climb from Sault.
Stage 2 attempted the Malaucène ascent of Ventoux, but finished short of the summit due to extreme wind (it often blows over 150kph), making conditions unsafe for riders.
Stage 3 time trial from Bedoin to the top pushed riders to their limit as they rode across the barren rock moonscape of Ventoux directly into a stiff wind. Although, at the summit they celebrated their final ascent beneath Ventoux’s iconic red and white radio tower.
Upon reaching the summit for her second time out of three attempts, Rebecka Harding of Sweden said, “Everything has been perfect from the Haute Route organisation to the views and the challenge. This is as close to being a professional as I ever could be.”
It must have been perfect, Rebecca won Haute Route Ventoux’s Compact Women’s 30-39 category with a time of 9:41:34.
GFDN Worldwide 2020 Gran Fondo Calendar