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Ventoux on Tour day : Advice needed

marc4099marc4099 Posts: 33
edited June 2009 in The bottom bracket
We are on holiday near Briancon this summer and are going to take the opportunity to watch the Tour climb Mont Ventoux.
The basic plan is to drive with the family to somewhere on the race route below the climb, then i'll ride up the mountain and watch the race while they watch from wherever i've left them. After it's all over i'll drop down and meet up with them again.

Just a few things i'm unsure of:

I'm assuming it'll be impossible to find somewhere to park actually on the mountain on the day. Am I right?

Anybody know of a nice spot where the Mrs and 2 little 'uns can park and watch the Tour go by, prefferably a town/village with parking, bar/cafe etc?

How long before and after the riders come past is the road closed to cyclists?

Bearing in mind this is probably a 'once in a lifetime' chance to do the climb, should I ride up the 'easy' way from sault or do the classic route from Bedoin?

Any ideas of where would be a good spot for me to watch from? (I'll probably ride to the summit, then descend a bit to watch)

Any advice is welcome!

Thanks in advance


  • clantonclanton Posts: 1,287
    We're planning on doing exactly the same thing - along with a few thousand others I guess!
    Can't answer any of those questions for you but personally I'll be riding the Bedoin route - same as the pro's, so I'll have a real feeling for how easy they make it look.
  • gavintcgavintc Posts: 3,009
    You could park in Sault and then cycle up to Chalet Reynard. This is the 'easy' way up. The benefit of choosing this route is that you could take a small pack with food, drink, jacket without really suffering on the 10% gradient. Sault is a nice little village and the family will be able to use the shops/cafe/bars while waiting for Le Tour. Once at Chalet Reynard, you have quite a few options on where to sit it out and wait for it all to happen. We intend to follow a similar plan. The only problem is that the access routes to Sault will close quite early as there are not many options.
  • clantonclanton Posts: 1,287
    We will be quite a big group, with some rather young fans - 6 months old or so IIRC!
    So we want to set up a bit of a base with shade on it, ideally somewhere on the clim proper. Will this be doable? How early will we need to head up the mountain?

    From the base 3 or 4 of us will ride down and then up the Bedoin route, how long before the pros come do they close the route to cyclists?
  • nick hansonnick hanson Posts: 1,655
    In 05 i rode from bourg d'oisans up the Lauteret then onto the Galibier to see the tour come up from the other side.
    The police stopped us riding up what must have been at least 2 to 3 hours before.
    Having said that,we walked across a field with loads of others,& joined the road a couple of hundred metres further up!
    As the TDF is finishing on the ventoux,anyone planning to take a group onto the climb,& set up a base,would do well to go through the night before.
    I wouldn't bank on leaving it much into the morning,certainly if taking vehicles.
    If I could get there this year,I'd be camping on the climb...Awesome
    so many cols,so little time!
  • celbianchicelbianchi Posts: 854
    I have been across to mountain stages for the last 5 years or so.

    1) Parking - you won't be able to drive anywhere close to the mountain. Generally the mountains for summit finishes are closed to traffic from midnight the night before

    2) Cycling up - the police will stop you wherever you are on the mountain around 30 to 45 mins before the caravan is due, after that they will usually let you continue up or down to your selected vantage point.

    3) On Ventoux there is not much after you leave Bedoin on race route in terms of a village for the family. They could set themselves up in Bedoin and maybe walk a little of the way up through the vineyards.

    4) I will probably ride the full climb in the mnorning then descend to around Chalet Reynard to watch the race.
  • Special KSpecial K Posts: 449
    i know that in France camping sauvage is very much interdit . However, is it usual that people get away with camping at the side of the road prior to the Tour coming through?
    "There are holes in the sky,
    Where the rain gets in.
    But they're ever so small
    That's why rain is thin. " Spike Milligan
  • knedlickyknedlicky Posts: 3,097
    I’d say as a rule it’s about an hour before the caravan reaches the bottom of the climb when cyclists get stopped by the police, but it also often depends on their mood or that of the individual policeman. If a policeman stops you earlier, or you’re already high up so it’ll be well over an hour before the caravan reaches you, then walk a 100 m then start off again.You’ll usually get another 1-2 km before another ‘efficient’ policeman calls you in.

    They are more definite in stopping you riding in the opposite direction, so if you’re also thinking of doing what celbianchi proposes (ride the full climb then descend to somewhere to watch the race) you would definitely need to be around your viewing spot an hour before the caravan gets near.

    The road is usually free about 15 mins after the last rider and various team and tour vehicles have passed, a bit longer after that if near the summit. But it’s also usually then mayhem, as everyone else wants to get down the mountain. For the first hour or so it’s quicker by bike than by car (often even quicker by foot than by car) but usually not much fun and certainly not fast.
    To enjoy the descent, you’ll have to ride up again the next day!
  • clantonclanton Posts: 1,287
    Thanks for all the useful tips.
    Does anyone know what time the caravan will arrive at Ventoux? I know they publish the times somewhere but don't know where to look!
  • marc4099marc4099 Posts: 33
    Time schedules in the link below.
    Caravan due in Bedoin at around 13:37
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