Fly to Marseille then transfer (less than 2 hours) to the charming village of Sault, right at the foot of Mont Ventoux. That evening there will be a welcome meeting with your leader and the opportunity to discuss the route, check bikes and make any final adjustments.
For our first days cycling we'll take a lovely quiet route from Sault to Montbrun, before climbing the Col de Macuègne (1068m / 9.5km long / average 5%). Although far less famous than Ventoux, this is one of the 'must do' climbs of the area as it enjoys spectacular views over Mont Ventoux. After an easier 4.5km climb, we'll join the Col de l'Homme Mort (1213m) before a speedy descent overlooking at the Plateau d'Albion. Returning to Sault we pass the Provencal villages of Banon and Simiane La Rotonde, perched high above the surrounding lavender fields.
Distance cycled: 87km with 1170m ascent.
We can't ignore the 'Giant of Provence' any longer, so today we head to the iconic Mont Ventoux. Our ride starts on a great road that winds itself through the magnificent Gorges de la Nesque. This is a lovely ride in its own right, but only the start of today's excitement. Arriving in Bedoin we start the climb of Mont Ventoux (1912m) by the most famous and difficult Tour de France route. It is certainly a challenge as the road climbs for 21.5km at an average of 7.5% to the summit. The final 5km are tough with pitches as steep as 10.7 %, you'll have earnt a celebratory drink by the top! A scenic 30km descent takes us back to Sault. Distance cycled: 105km with 2060m ascent.
If you found your climbing legs on yesterday's ride then today we have the ultimate challenge - climb Ventoux three times in one day, from three different directions. The three routes are Bedoin (21.5km, 1614 ascent, average 7.5%), Malaucene (21km, 1582m ascent, average 7.5%), and Sault (26km, 1197 ascent, average 4.4%). Created in 1988, the 'Club des Cingles du Ventoux' has over 5000 'mad' members who have successfully conquered the challenge. Your leader will organise the registration locally and you'll be given a map, a number plate for your bike, and a ride card to be stamped at different check points at Bedoin, Malaucene, Sault and of course at the summit itself. Our support vehicle will be with you all day with drinks, snacks and of course plenty of vocal encouragement! After official approval, you will join the club and be given a medal to commemorate your achievement. After nearly 70km of uphill cycling today a big meal and a few drinks will be very well deserved.
Distance cycled: 138km with 4400m of ascent
For anyone wishing to take it a little easier today, there are a number of other great riding options to enjoy should you prefer a more relaxing end to the trip. These include climbing back up to the summit of Ventoux by either the Sault or Malaucene routes.
Free morning to relax in Sault, before transferring to Marseilles airport. Fly to London.