Mont Ventoux has become legendary as the scene of one of the most gruelling climbs in the Tour de France. The race has ascended the mountain thirteen times since 1951 and its fame as a scene of great Tour dramas has made it a magnet for cyclists around the world.
Winners of the Mont Ventoux stage at the Tour de France
The most impressive ascent of the mountain during the Tour must go to Charly Gaul, the climber from Luxembourg who sadly died recently. In 1958 he won the stage up the Ventoux in an incredible time of 1h 2' 9". If you consider the road surface and the weight of the bike he would give any modern rider a hard day !!!
Eros Poli also deserves a mention. A hefty chap at over 85 kilos he was Mario Cippolinis lead out man for many years. The 1994 Tour featured an ascent of Mont Ventoux. Poli broke away from the peloton early on in the stage and built a lead of over 20 minutes as they neared the Ventoux. The chase pack started the climb with a faster rhythm and a 22 minute deficit. When Poli arrived at the final 300 meters his lead had dwindled to 4 minutes but it had survived. Poli hammered the descent and rode into Carpentras with tears of joy in his eyes for a spectacular 3'39” stage win.