Tourmalet vs Ventoux

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Tourmalet vs Ventoux

Postby jawaka » 22 Apr 2014, 2:02pm

I did Ventoux about four years ago and also some alps during the last 3 years. As I've just turned 60 I decided that I had to do the Tormalet this year. I wondered how they compare. Anyone who's done both?

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Re: Tourmalet vs Ventoux

Postby bikepacker » 22 Apr 2014, 4:02pm

I have done Ventoux from both sides and Tourmalet from Argeles-Gozost side. I think the hardest climb is Ventoux from Malaucene side. All of those were between my 64th to 69th years.

Last year I wanted to do Tourmalet from Bagneres side a few days before my 70th birthday. Unfortunately I was defeated by the Col being still closed in June due to snow lingering on the top. Got about 2k past the ski resort before I got to the snow barrier and couldn't get further. Had I done this I think the climb would have been tougher than either of the Ventoux climbs.

BTW one of my cycling buddies has done these with me and he is 5 years older than me.
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Re: Tourmalet vs Ventoux

Postby crazyferret » 22 Apr 2014, 6:58pm

I did them both on a tour a few years ago along with some other big climbs. Personally I found Ventoux more difficult but that is almost entirely down to the fact the weather was boiling. Overall i think they are fairly similar but it all depends on what happens on the day. Based on the fact you have managed pleanty of other big climbs you should be fine.

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Re: Tourmalet vs Ventoux

Postby jamesgilbert » 22 Apr 2014, 7:14pm

Obviously a lot depends on conditions, but just in terms of numbers Tourmalet involves less height climbed but on average it's slightly steeper than Ventoux. But very much in the same ballpark.

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Re: Tourmalet vs Ventoux

Postby mnichols » 22 Apr 2014, 7:31pm

I haven't done Ventoux, but I have done Col de la Tourmalet (north to south)

I've done about 40 or so cols in the Alps and Pyrenees, including quite a few that are higher than CdlT such as Col de la Bonnette and Col de L'Iseran, but CdlT was the toughest. Some of this was down to the weather (sleet), my nutrition (getting it wrong) and over confidence, but it was steep and unrelenting. I would say that it was my toughest day on a bike.

There was light drizzle at the bottom, which was sleet at the top and I couldn't stop shivering by the time I got the cafe. I'm going back this year and will be doing it as part of the Raid route. I won't under estimate it again. It's a climb that deserves respect

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Re: Tourmalet vs Ventoux

Postby ossie » 22 Apr 2014, 9:30pm

anyone done these fully loaded on a tourer or do you leave your kit at the campsite.

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Re: Tourmalet vs Ventoux

Postby Audax67 » 22 Apr 2014, 9:46pm

Agree with Bikepacker, from Malaucène is the hardest way up the Ventoux - but it's by far the most beautiful. The view is superb. There's one slightly demoralizing point when you suddenly have the relay tower looming over you and think "my god, it's still that far away", then you round a bend and the road seems to go straight up. My heart hit 170 bpm at that point.

The Tourmalet, from Luz, is boring. It's a steady 8% slog with a flat bit at Barèges. The Ventoux has more variety. I've done it two and a half times, the half being to see the Dauphiné Libéré time trial at Châlet Reynard, and loved it every time.

Here's a piccy:

This was stitched together from several frames - that's the same car & cyclist all the way up.
Have we got time for another cuppa?

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Re: Tourmalet vs Ventoux

Postby nmnm » 23 Apr 2014, 1:29am

You can have quite a nice day by doing the Aubisque and the Tourmalet together. I camped at a site a little past Bonne Eaux, (at Iscoo, site of the 1912 Downhill Skiing world cup or similar!) then set off up the Aubisque in the morning. Iscoo is near the 11km to go marker, so you're past the Aubisque about two hours after the campsite. There was a bit of food shopping (supermarket too) between the two cols, and once over the Tourmalet, Campan had a campsite for the evening. Terrific!

I enjoyed doing the Ventoux too. I think the Tourmalet was a bit harder - I did have the camping gear with me - but at 5mph, they're all fine if the weather holds.

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Re: Tourmalet vs Ventoux

Postby crazyferret » 26 Apr 2014, 8:25pm

ossie wrote:anyone done these fully loaded on a tourer or do you leave your kit at the campsite.

Yes when we did the climbs we did them with full camping gear, we had to get to the next site so leaving them at the bottom wasn't really an option. The only time we did in fact go back to the same site was in bourg d'oisans. We left early, got up alpe d'huez no problem. On the way down my friend's rack failed. We bodged a repair on the hill and I took all of the luggage down. We set up camp in exactly the same spot as before and completed the repairs we needed.

Was an interesting one but meant we could have half a day off to rest.

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Re: Tourmalet vs Ventoux

Postby whoof » 29 Apr 2014, 2:23pm

Have done the Tourmalet a couple of times and the Ventoux always carrying full camping gear. Depends on the weather and how you cope with it and the gearing on the bike. Have done the Tourmalet in both snow/mist and hot and sunny and the ventoux on clear sunny day in June. Psychological I found it easier when it's warm but I like hot weather. If you do not like it too hot and it looks like it's doing to be a nice day sent off early.
Gearing is very important, have passed riders on both climbs who were really struggling with them on carbon race bikes and me riding an old mountain bike converted to a tourer with four panniers and a tent.

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Re: Tourmalet vs Ventoux

Postby Marco Panettone » 29 Apr 2014, 5:12pm

I've done both but did all three ascents of Ventoux on a carbon road bike and the Tourmalet on a lightly loaded touring bike so it's difficult to compare like for like.

Ventoux seemed to have steeper gradients and the Tourmalet seemed to go on forever but the gradient was never taxing but this could all be down to gearing of course!
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Re: Tourmalet vs Ventoux

Postby andrewleck » 29 Apr 2014, 8:20pm

Hate the Tourmalet, love Ventoux.

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Re: Tourmalet vs Ventoux

Postby Manu3172 » 29 Apr 2014, 9:32pm

Ventoux is longer, Tourmalet is a little higher. They are both more or less the same, it depends on the weather conditions. However, when climbing Ventoux, there are opportunities to rest a little bit, Tourmalet is only one long climb.

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Re: Tourmalet vs Ventoux

Postby nmnm » 30 Apr 2014, 6:05am

Manu3172 wrote:Tourmalet is a little higher. They are both more or less the same
True from sea level (important if cycling from Nice airport) but if camping nearer, Tourmalet is 1400m (and 19km) above Luz Saint Sauveur, while Ventoux is 1600m (and 21km) above Bedoin. I agree they're more or less the same though, in real life.

I wonder if the Tourmalet is very different following the landslide and subsequent repairs last year or the year before.

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Re: Tourmalet vs Ventoux

Postby bretonbikes » 2 May 2014, 8:54am

I've done both the Ventoux (last year) and the Tormalet many times leading groups and always with everyone carrying full camping gear (the average age on the Ventoux was a smidge under 60 - oldest 72).

There's not a lot in it in terms of difficulty to be honest - similar total climb, similar gradient though the Ventoux does vary more depending on route. We climbed from Malaucene and it worked out really well. The trouble with the Ventoux being it is very exposed to both temperature and wind (the clue's in the name).

For a guide/report to the climb we did see ... liday.html

the Tormalet I've done from both sides and I have to say each time i do it I come away more disappointed. 25 years ago when I first did it it was a quiet climb (all lorries/coaches etc banned) and stunning coming up from Luz Saint Sauveur. The top was quaintly underdeveloped and then a great descent spoiled for about 20 seconds (at 60 mph) by the eyesore of Le Mongie ski resort half-way down...

This has now changed. The last time I climbed it was 3 years ago from the Le Mongie side. Firstly was the horror of being constantly overtaken by camping cars belching diesel at me and forcing me to the side of the road (it's narrow) - then reaching La Mongie I found that it now pretty much extends all the way to the top with all the damage and disgusting concrete you can imagine. I swore I wouldn't go back.

But in reality it's still pretty good from the Luz side so if you are going to do it come up from that side and just close your eyes for the first 10 minutes of the descent.

I wrote a guide to this ride too (many years ago) which you can find here
35 years of cycletouring, 30 years of running cycling holidays, 5 years of running a campsite for cyclists - there's a pattern here...