Young Briton Illi Gardner smashes Mont Ventoux QOM by more than two minutes

The KOM record was also recently reset by Spaniard Oscar Rodriguez

Mont Ventoux
(Image credit: Getty)

Twenty-one-year-old Illi Gardner has set a new fastest female time on Strava of Mont Ventoux.

The Welshwoman ascended the iconic mountain in a time of 1:12.16, a huge two minutes and 19 seconds faster than the previous record set by a user called Pro Ma in May.

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Gardner is currently in the south of France on a training camp and the CAMS-Tifosi rider is clearly in good condition.

Despite the sweltering hot weather that is affecting the whole of Europe, Gardner rode up the 21.34km mountain in just over 70 minutes.

Ascending 1,519m, Gardner climbed at an average pace of 17.7kmh. For context, Alice Le Poulet, who set the tenth-fastest time by a female rider on the Strava segment, averaged 15.3kmh.

Gardner’s time is even more impressive given that The Bald Mountain averages a 7.1 percent gradient as it climbs to an altitude of 1,814m from the valley that sits at 295m. 

The Strava segment, named Mont Ventoux Officiel, has been attempted over 125,000 times by more than 83,000 different people.

Ventoux Strava

The QOM-breaking ride

(Image credit: Strava)

So far in 2021 Gardner has only raced twice, a regional race and a National B event in the UK, with the promising rider yet to race on the Continent so far.

But she has emerged as one of the strongest virtual riders around, with her being a constant presence in Zwift races.

Recently, she also claimed the QoM on Ven-Top, Zwift's version of the iconic mountain. 

Just four days before Gardner set a new QoM time, Oscar Rodriguez did the same in the men’s leaderboard. 

The Astana-Premier Tech rider clocked 1:00.15 to beat the previous best time of 1:00.59 that Laurens ten Dam had held. 

Rodriguez, 26, was racing the Mont Ventoux Dénivele Challenge race, in which he finished second, 2:26 behind Miguel Ángel López of Movistar.