While the Bédoin-side is by far the most popular way to climb the Ventoux, the Malaucène-side is probably more attractive because you have more and nicer views along the road. Another advantage of this side is that there is far less traffic than on the other side. Which makes climbing more fun. This comes with the possible disadvantage that there are also far less cyclists on this road, and, unless you ride very slow or very hard, you won’t see much more than a couple of dozen fellow cyclists crawling to the top.
Cause make no mistake: this side is almost as hard as the Bédoin side. Distance and gradient are almost similar. The profile isn’t though. While Bédoin slowly meanders up along the wine fields, the Malaucène climb goes up immediately at 7%. And after a short flat piece near the Notre-Dame du Groseau, it gets really serious going up to a 2 km section at 9%. Time to recuperate a bit and the next 5 km till the Belvédère give you the occasion to do so. This section is very irregular though.
Enjoy the break, cause after the Belvédère – if you stop you get a first nice view into the northern and eastern Alps – comes the most challenging part of this approach. During an unrelenting 4 km, the climb goes up at more than 10% with sections of 12% – 14%! This is the hardest part of the whole Ventoux and even if you started off in the early morning, sun will burn on your head here.
Luckily, also the Malaucène side has its chalet, the Chalet Liotard, which gives you the opportunity to take a small break. The climb also gets less steep here, just for a while. Cause after the chalet waits a new very tough kilometer at 10%+. But if you survived that one, you’re on your way to the top. The climb gets more moderate and regular now. 4 km at around 8% on average bring you to the top, where you will be welcomed by a big crowd and a bunch of cyclists from the other side.