The best climbers in the professional peloton will finally have the chance to climb Mont Ventoux in a new one-day race next year. The one-day UCI 1.1 race will go from Vaison-la-Romaine to the top of the legendary climb and is scheduled to be held on Sunday June 17, as part of a weekend of cycling that also includes the Santini GF Mont Ventoux sportif ride on Saturday. The new race will be held a week after the Criterium du Dauphine stage race, according to a report in L'Equipe.fr. The UCI traditionally reveals the full 2019 race calendar during the world road race championships in late September.
Mont Ventoux is considered one of the most grueling climbs in the world and has become legendary thanks to the Tour de France, and its barren, white lunar landscape baked by the sun. The traditional route climb 1617 metres over 21.8 km, with riders exposed to wind virtually the whole way. The gradient starts off mildly in the lower forest but the final 16km climb at an average gradient of 7.9%.
It has been the scene of many dramatic moments during the Tour de France, including the death of Tom Simpson in 1967. The Tour de France has climbed Mont Ventoux 16 times, with ten of those being mountaintop finishes. Charly Gaul, Eddy Merckx, Marco Pantani, Richard Virenque, and Chris Froome have all claimed victory atop the Ventoux.
The Ventoux most recently appeared in the Tour de France in 2016 where it is best remembered for an incident in which yellow jersey Chris Froome suffered bike damage in a collision with a motorcycle, after which he ran several hundred meters uphill before receiving an ill-fitting neutral service bike. He finished second on the stage behind Thomas De Gendt.
While most professional riders conquer the mountain in an hour, the fastest recorded time of 55:51 was set by Iban Mayo in an individual time trial in the 2004 Dauphine Libere.