2022 Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge – Men

Vaison-la-Romaine > Mont Ventoux 152.8km

I’m a big fan of the Ventoux challenge, what’s not to like? Twice up Ventoux, once from Sault and once from Bédoin. With teams scrambling to get world tour points, the race takes on more significance this year, the pressure is on quite a few teams to impress.

Weather

Damn hot! Much of Europe is currently experiencing a heat wave, not in Scotland though.

The Climbs

<

First up is the “easy” side of Ventoux, but it’s still 24.2km at 4.9%. A fast descent follows before the main event of the day.

21.7km at 7.2%, a climb we all know well. As usual, once out of the trees there will be a headwind, it’s always a headwind up there. 

Tactics

First of all, someone will try and drop riders on the descent between the two ascents of Ventoux, probably Movistar. Once on the final climb, teams with multiple options will try and use this to their advantage. When the front group is down to 5 riders, if a team has 2 at the front they will have a huge advantage. To take advantage of numbers, you also need the legs to back it up.

We have several different routes into the race for the main challengers. Some come from the Dauphiné, some from the Giro and others with very little recent racing. The Dauphiné was a very hard race, but the same was true last year and López won this race after doing well just days before. 

Those coming from the Giro will be a little in the dark in terms of their form, they won’t know until they hit Ventoux. Most have suffered in recent races after doing the Giro, but Pozzovivo shows that it can be done.

Those coming without much racing in the legs will certainly be fresh, but they’ll be worried about lacking a little intensity. 

Contenders

Movistar – they have Jorgenson, Sosa, Valverde, and Verona for this one, they arrive with one of the strongest teams. Sosa and Valverde come from the Giro, where neither of them hit the heights expected of them. Jorgenson continues to impress in the mountains, despite being much bigger than his rivals. Verona took a brilliant win on Saturday, with his confidence up, he could be their best option. Movistar have the numbers to try and put everyone else under pressure, but they need the legs to back it up.

Michael Woods – 2nd behind Fuglsang in the Mercan’Tour, where he looked very strong. He’s here to win and secure important world tour points for his team, that’s why he’s not doing the Tour de Suisse. He doesn’t arrive with a strong team, so he could be put under pressure by the likes of Movistar and EF on the final climb. I would expect him to be better than he was a couple of weeks ago, he must start as one of the men to beat.

Jesús Herrada – won here back in 2019, but that was against an out of form Bardet. I think the level is too high for him this year. Cofidis also bring Guillaume Martin to the race, he’s a better option in my opinion. The problem is that he comes from the Giro, so we’ll have to see how his legs respond.

Mattias Skjelmose – he comes here from the Giro, his first grand tour, so he won’t be sure how his legs will react. If he’s on form, he’ll be fighting for the win, just think back to his performance in Provence at the start of the season.

Tobias Johannessen – the neo-pro is having a brilliant year, but he went very deep in the Dauphiné and is bound to be a little tired. 

Michael Storer – I was expecting more of him in the Dauphiné, but he did seem to improve as the race went on. Storer was one of the sensations of last year, but this year he’s not managed to hit those heights. 2nd in the Alps was a high point, but he seems to have struggled to hit any sort of consistency. If he can carry some form out of the Dauphiné, he should go well in this race, it’s one that suits him well.

Cristián Rodriguez – he was 5th last year but finished a long way down on López. He started the season off in brilliant form, finishing 2nd in Andalucía, but he’s not done much since.

EF – they arrive in need of world tour points, that’s why they’ve brought a team of hitters. Both Chaves and Guerreiro went very well in the Dauphiné, finishing 4th and 5th in the final stage. If both have the same legs, they have a great chance of winning this race. With Kudus, Carr, and Camargo to support, EF will be confident of securing a big result.

Prediction Time

In the days leading up to this race, I had Michael Woods as the huge favourite, but the results at the weekend have changed that. Both the EF riders come here with brilliant form; I’ll take a win for Ruben Guerreiro.

Share: