No Ventoux

art from the 2013 Tour by Simon Taylor

So, reports have it that we will not be able to witness Froome kill it on the Ventoux tomorrow. Organizers of the Tour de France have determined that weather conditions will make the climb too hazardous. The Devil's Advocate says that is a cop-out, that racers of the past have raced through blizzards one day and, a week later wilted under temperatures so high that the iconic sunflowers were blanched to a pale shadow of their normally vibrant self. The Devil's Advocate says that it is a climb, after all and, though someone could be blown over by a gusty cross-wind, at least no one would be swept completely off the mountain during a high speed descent. The Devil's Advocate says, what's next, no racing on days when the sun beats down at anything more than 90ºF. The Devil's Advocates says, why not let the conditions play their part, small or large, as they always have? Risk, after all, is part of the game; over-sanitization is good for neither hands nor races.

I don't know, maybe the Devil's Advocate is a jerk, and the racers well being is of more importance than anything the Ventoux might bring to the competition. It is unlikely that the outcome of the Tour would be dependent on this one stage, as dramatic as its history suggests it could be; the multitude of big Alpine climbs still to come are more likely to do that. Disappointment will be the biggest winner on Thursday, the disappointment of Tour-watchers who look forward to those periodic instances when the bare, exposed summit of Mont Ventoux takes it rightful place in the legion of Tour heroics.

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