Miguel Ángel López sets fastest time on Mont Ventoux since 2004

A look at the fastest climbers on the iconic mountain after the one-day race

Miguel Ángel López wins the Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge
(Image credit: Bertrand Delhomme via www.imago-images.de/Imago/PA Images)

Miguel Ángel López has set the fastest ascent of Mont Ventoux since 2004.

The Colombian star was utterly dominant during the Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge on Tuesday (June 8), riding away from his rivals 12km from the summit of the iconic climb to take victory.

While blasting his way to the top of the ‘Giant of Provence,’ Movistar rider López put himself into the history books with one of the fastest ascents of Ventoux in modern times. 

Ventoux is a now a regular feature on the cycling calendar after the first ever Mont Ventoux one-day race was held in 2019, but this is the first time the event has taken on the classic Bédoin side of the mountain.

Usually Ventoux is reserved for rare stages in the Tour de France, often decisive and unforgettable moments in the general classification. 

According to climbing-records.com, which tracks ascents of cycling’s most famous mountains, López powered his way to the top of Mont Ventoux from the 21.5km-long Bédoin route with a time of 57-55.

That time is the fastest ascent of Ventoux since 2004, when Spaniard Iban Mayo won the individual time trial from Bédoin to Mont Ventoux on stage four of the Critérium du Dauphiné that year, setting a time of 55-51 when racing for Euskatel-Euskadi.    

Mayo’s average speed of 23.1km/h was fast enough to beat some of the biggest names of the time, including Tyler Hamilton and Lance Armstrong, and is still the fastest ever ascent of Ventoux on record.  

López averaged 22.27km/h on the 7.5 per cent average gradient climb. 

During this year’s Mont Ventoux Denivele Challenge, López’s closest rival was Óscar Rodríguez from Astana-Premier Tech, who finished 2-26 down on the winner. 

But Strava reveals Rodriguez still put in a formidable time, climbing the 20km-long Mt. Ventoux via Bédoin segment in 57-59, with an average power of 355 watts (an estimated 5.6 watts per kilogram).

Rodríguez should have been awarded the Strava KoM for the climb, if it wasn’t for a mysterious account under the name Chris F, which has held the crown since 2013 with a climb of supposedly 56-11. 

In more recent times, (the real and verified) Chris Froome put in one of the fastest ascents of the mountain during the 2013 Tour de France, climbing in 59 minutes with an average speed of 21.86km, while Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador rose to the summit in 58-46 during the 2009 Tour. 

The early 2000s also saw some other rapid times, with Armstrong riding in 59 minutes in 2002, while he and Italian Marco Pantani rival finished the climb in 59-05 in 2000. 

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Ventoux last appeared in the Tour back in 2016, when the stage was shortened due to high winds and Chris Froome famously tried to run up the mountain, but the climb will also be returning to the Tour de France this year.

But we may not see any records broken in 2021, as the peloton faces two brutal ascents of the famous climb on stage 11, before they drop down the other side to finish in Malaucène.