Some bike races, it seems, were just meant to be. And one of those is the Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge. Only in its fourth year, the Dénivelé Challenge proved to be an instant success. The first one-day race to finish on top of this iconoclast climb, the MVDC is situated strategically just two days after the Critérium du Dauphiné. Boasting not one but two ascensions up Mont Ventoux, the race offers a great opportunity for riders to continue building towards the upcoming Tour de France.
Giving the race an added touch of royalty, this year’s race started in the heart of the Roman Theatre in Vaison-La-Romain, even more fittingly on a red carpet. And Mont Ventoux—so often referred to as the Giant of Provence—never seemed far, as its distinctive peak kept popping its head out as the riders raced around it.
As the race approached the foot of the final ascension, the EF Education-EasyPost riders went to the front, launching Ruben Guerreiro on the steep lower pitches. The Portuguese climber quickly built a convincing lead as other pre-race favourites like Canada’s Michael Woods and Spanish veteran Alejandro Valverde struggled behind.
So convincing was his ride, that he had plenty of time to take in the scenery. But from the expression on Guerreiro's face, that might have been stretching things a bit. Little matter, it was a great day to be racing around the Giant of Provence.