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A strange and extreme mountain standing alone in the south of France, prone to high winds and baking heat, Mont Ventoux is unlike any other climb. And this year on stage 11, the Tour de France rides it not once, but twice, tackling two different routes up the mountain.
Whether it’s a great champion like Eddy Merckx needing oxygen on its steep slopes, or Chris Froome literally running up the road, there’s always drama whenever the Tour visits Ventoux. And it has played part to truly tragic moments. Infamously, its summit was the site where Tom Simpson collapsed and died in the 1967 Tour de France.
In this special episode dedicated to this mountain that beckons like few others in cycling, we speak to riders who love it, and those who would rather never visit it again. EF Education–Nippo team boss Jonathan Vaughters, who once held the record up the climb, joins to discuss his days racing the climb and what to expect this year. Later, Tom Simpson’s daughter, Joanne, shares memories of her late father.
OJ Borg hosts this in-depth look at the mountain, and is joined by Tour de France correspondent for the Guardian Jeremy Whittle, whose obsession with Ventoux dates back decades and led him to write a book, “Ventoux: Sacrifice and Suffering on the Giant of Provence.” Later, his colleague William Fotheringham shares an excerpt from his book, “Put Me Back on My Bike: In Search of Tom Simpson.”
This is a can’t-miss episode for any cycling fan as we head into the stage 11 double ascent of Ventoux on July 7.
Aérogramme is presented by Hyperice.