miércoles, 31 de octubre de 2012

Mont Ventoux 2013. A giant with a long history.

Photo  www.guardian.co.uk

The giant of Provence will be one of the simbols of next year´s route of the Tour de France. It will be the finish of a long and flat stage

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The profile of the climb:

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It is a very difficult climb and the last part is exposed to the wind, so sometimes is difficult to attack and if you lose contact you will find difficult to close the gaps.

The stage in 2013 is  flat , so it is supposed to be a stage for brave riders and breakaways. On the other hand it is a very long stage and that is an important point to take into account. The slopes of the Ventoux can be a cemetery for some favourites. It is not probably a day to win the Tour , but if you have a bad day, you can say good bye to the yellow jersey.

We will probably see Alberto Contador, Chris Froome, Andy Schleck and several good riders climbing its steep slopes next year. The stage is long and flat and all will be decided in the 21 kilometers of the climb.

If I have to bet I will say it is a good climb for Andy Schleck ( if he recovers his shape), but the winner will be a breakaway member. Riders such as Voeckler, Luis León, Fedrigo, Moncutie, Chavanel, etc.....have a good opportunity to have his name written next to some myths of this sport like Gaul, Merckx or Pantani.

Another important thing I would like to say, that is not possible this year because Givors is so far of the Ventoux, and knowing that there are no difficult climbs near it, oranizers should think about a double pass.......the same as they have done this year with Al pe D´Huez.

The first climb would be a good moment to increase the rythm and the second one to break the race.
For other edition and coming from Carpentras a double climb from Bedoin could be possible:

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Route with tracks4bikers:


You can close the two climbs if we use different faces of the climb, but those last 90 kilometers would be very interesting and a good innovation.

And why do the organizers don´t repite the 1987 time trial ( or at least the 1958 one)?..it was a tremenduous spectacle, and it didn´t decide the winners of those editions. Gaul had to survive with epyc, and Bernard was humilated the following day.
By the way we don´t lose the hope to see this climb again like a cycling icon with a great winner.

A little of History about the Giant of Provence:

It has been climbed several times ( information from cyclingcols )

2009Juan Manuel Garate (SPA), 2002Richard Virenque (FRA), 2000Marco Pantani (ITA) 1994Eros Poli (ITA), 1987Jean-François Bernard (FRA),1974Gonzalo Aja (SPA),1972Bernard Thévenet (FRA),1970Eddy Merckx (BEL),1967Julio Jiménez (SPA),1965Raymond Poulidor (FRA), 1958Charly Gaul (LUX),1955Louison Bobet (FRA),1952Jean Robic (FRA), 1951Lucien Lazarides (FRA).

But it was a summit finish just in 1958,65,70,72,87,2000,2002 and 2009

And in 1958 and 1987 it was ridden in time trials.....21.5 km in 1958 with a great climb of Charly Gaul, and in 1987 with a superb performance of Jean Francoise Bernard.

I hope we will see such a great stage next year as we could see in other editions.

A thing that has been tested is that a time trial to the Ventoux is an easy success, the ITT in 1958 was great and the one of the 1987 Tour was a superb exhibition by J.F.Bernard

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Photo: © AFP
That day was a very special day for the Tour, there was a French leader, Charly Mottet, there was a favourite to win the stage, the Colombian Luis Herrera ( and Pedro Delgado also counted.but less), a favourite to win the Tour, Stephen Roche,..................and then the ssuccesor of Bernard Hinault broke the watch.

The references of Bernard were the best since the start, he was getting closer to Roche time check to time check................Mottet was losing the yellow jersey, and the favourites  Herrera and Delgado were doing a good time trial but far from Bernard´s time.

A good time as a reference was the time of Fabio Parra with 1h21'48", who beat the best time of Martial Gayant in 48", then Herrera arrived with 1h21'23". Colombian journalists were excited, their riders were conquering the Tour. They had Parra and Herrera, but Wilches and Acevedo were in the first positions of the stage.

Pedro Delgado was 250 meters to the finish line and he was in time to break Herrera´s time. Finally he was 12" slower. Only three riders hadn´t arrived...Roche, Bernard and Mottet.

Roche saved a difficult day in the race 1h22'03"....he had only lost 28" to Delgado and 40" to Herrera, a very good day............till the moment Bernard appeared............he was arriving with Roche nearly in sight, he was going to win the stage, to take the yellow and to become the  favourite number 1 to win the Tour .......time for Bernard 1h19'44"..........1'51" to Delgado a 2'19" to Roche.............Mottet arrived with the 9th best time 3'58" slower than Bernard...........the Tour had changed.

Now Bernard was leading with 2'34" to Roche, 2'47" to Mottet, 3'56" to Delgado ( one of the fvourtes to win the Tour in Merckx´s words) and 8'18" to Herrera who was reducing the gap stage by stage.

Another French leader.............he would lose the yellow the following day in a strategic operation of Guimard´s renault. That day in the route of Villard the Lans Bernard suffered the key moment of his career, he lost the yellow and he didn´t wear it again, his oportunity had gone, he wasn´t close to the podium in the rest of the Tours he started, but that day he signed a historic day............

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In 1958, the time trial was only a 21,5 kilometers length stage.
Charly Gaul and Bahamontes had an exciting duel, with the rest of the participants minutes ahead of them.
The morning leader Favero lost 8 minutes, Geminiani the new leader lost 5 minutes, Anquetil more than four.

Gaul and Bahamontes were separated by just 31"..............Gaul was now third in the overall and was still a contender. In  the followng stage he suffered mechanical incidents and lost 11 minutes, the Tour was over for him........but then came the exhibition in the way to Aix le Bains, the angel of the mountains was still in contention with only a minute behind Favero and Geminiani, and there was a time trial left, which Gaul won to be the winner of the 1958 edition with more than 3 minutes to Favero,2nd, and Geminini,3rd.

This climb is also connected to the greatest cyclist ever, the Belgian Eddy Merckx, who won the stage in 1970

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Merckx was the leader with more than 6 minutes to Zoetemelk, but he wanted the stage, perhaps to honour his mate Simpson, who had died there during the last time it had been climbed. Merckx, first with Agostinho, and later alone, climbed the Ventoux with his normal ambition. All was going well for him, iw was an exhibition, but with less than a kilometer to the climb he started suffering, he closed the finish line in a bad state and finally he fainted................it was one the most difficult days in Merckx career.

Two years later, the Ventoux was again in the menu, but that year Mercks had a very tough opponent, the Spanish Ocaña. The press had been waiting for this duel since the crash of the Spaniard in Mente the previous year.

When the stage took place Merckx was the leader and Ocaña was finding nearly impossible to drop the Belgian, Ventoux was a good chance. Molteni controlled the climb but Ocaña repetitive attacks dropped everybody but Poulidor and Merckx

Photo Offside

Ocaña surrendered and they slowed the pace, Thevenet took advantage of the situation and closed the gap. Later he attacked and won the stage with 34" to Merckx , Ocaña was dropped and lose a few seconds.
Now the overall was lead by Merckx with more than 3 minutes to an ocaña that was not being the supposed rival to Merckx.

In the Alpes Ocaña abandonned and Merckx won the Tour easiliy, another rival, the French Guimard had to quit too, due to a knee injury..the green jersey was for Merckx too, and 8 stages, the doubts that the 1971 edition had produced in people and press had totally dissapeared.

But this is a tragic climb too. The British champion Tom Simpson died on its slopes in 1967. It was a very hot day and Simpson had taken amphetamines and alcohol ( this was a bad-luck casuality in one of the places they took drinks during the sage).
That year Tom Simpson was mate of the future winner of that Tour, Roger Pingeon, and of the raising star and winner of San  Remo 66 and 67 ( and 2 stages in the last Giro),Eddy Merckx.

Photo http://www.sportvintage.it

Simpson forced a lot and fall, but he continued........he should have quit, but the 1965 world champion didn´t surrender and that was his end.............

Photo http://www.sportvintage.it/
It was a drama, frontpages of papers spoke about doping, cycling was under suspiction, and Mont Ventoux had been the witness of a tragedy......the Spanish climber Julio Jiménez was the first on the climb but nobody noticed, even though he was assisted, Tom Simpson couldn´t live............

1 comentario:

  1. In my opinion the Tour should recover the mountain time trial to the Ventoux.