Mont Ventoux is a challenge that strikes fear into even the most seasoned of Tour de France riders – stark, wind-swept (as the name implies) and with a breath-sapping summit finish. It is the stuff of legends to pro and amateur riders alike. But none of that has stopped Rob Holden from hiring a ‘Boris bike’ and cycling the 22kg, three-speed bike to the top. Rob, aided by friends Matthew Winstone, and Ian Laurie, hired the bike from a docking station in Southwark, south London, loaded it into a van and drove, via the Eurotunnel, to the Alps. The 22km climb of the ‘Giant of Provence’ was recorded for posterity – you can see the resulting ‘Boris vs Ventoux The Film’ below – and the team returned the bike to London with only moments to spare before the 24-hour rental cut-off.
Mont Ventoux has been a stage finish for the TdF on nine occasions – most recently this year, when Team Sky’s Chris Froome claimed victory – and the race has crossed the summit on six other editions. The climb tragically and controversially claimed the life of British cyclist Tommy Simpson during the 1967 race.