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June 27, 2016 – For the letter V in our A-to-Z countdown to the 2016 Tour de France (#TDF2016) we’ve chosen Mont VENTOUX, the Giant of Provence, which this year will appear on the Tour route for the 16th time, and the 10th time as a stage finish.
#PelotonShorts by John Wilcockson/Photo by Yuzuru Sunada
In 2000, stage 12 ended infamously in a duel between these two men, with Marco Pantani being gifted the win by yellow jersey Lance Armstrong. Speaking to his home media, the Italian said he felt insulted by the American’s gesture, saying, “Pantani does not need Armstrong to give him a victory.” Sixteen years later, the 21.8-kilometer ascent from the village of Bédoin to the 6,272-foot (1,912-meter) summit remains one of the toughest climbs in France, but today’s smooth road has removed the former bumpy surface that was almost a big a difficulty as the 9- and 10-percent grades encountered for 9 of the climb’s final 15 kilometers.
When Chris Froome won the Ventoux stage by 20 seconds over Nairo Quintana three years ago, he completed the climb in exactly 59 minutes. Speeds were much slower in 1951 when the climb was made for the only time on the northern approach, when French climber Lucien Lazarides was first to the top, while future three-time Tour winner Louison Bobet won the stage that ended in Avignon.