Following up on April’s wildly popular Haute Route Watopia, Zwift + Haute Route have rolled out another big challenge which happens this weekend: the Virtual Haute Route Ventoux!

This tough three-stage event takes place entirely on Zwift’s France map, and features two stages which include all or part of Zwift’s virtual Mount Ventoux. (For anyone lucky enough to be riding in the real-life Haute Route Ventoux just two weeks after the virtual event, this will serve as a final test of fitness.)

Sign up and details at www.zwift.com/hauteroute >

Test Yourself

In true Haute Route style, this is designed to be a challenging stage event. Competitors must complete all three stages on back to back days in order to officially finish. Each stage will be run across multiple time zones – see the event page on Zwift.com for schedule and signup.

A general classification on ZwiftPower will allow all entrants to track their performance across all three stages.

There will be no make-up days – stages must be completed back to back. 

Stage Details

Over the course of three stages, participants will ride a total of 104.7km (65.1 miles) with 3,145m (10,319′) of climbing. These are double draft events.

Here are the routes for each stage (click for details):

Stage 1: Petit Boucle (61km/37.9 miles, 430m/1411')

Animated “Petit Boucle” Route Details (France) Map
Animated map provided by ZwiftHacks
Looking for a tour of France? Released with Zwift’s France map for the first-ever Virtual Tour de France, the Petit Boucle route is the longest on the map (along with Tire-Bouchon). Its name references Le Tour’s “Grand Boucle” nickname, which means “big loop.”  It covers all roads in both directions, except for the road up Mont Ventoux.

Looking for a tour of France? Released with Zwift’s France map for the first-ever Virtual Tour de France, the Petit Boucle route is the longest on the map (along with Tire-Bouchon). Its name references Le Tour’s “Grand Boucle” nickname, which means “big loop.” 

It covers all roads in both directions, except for the road up Mont Ventoux.

Route Basics

Length: 61 km (37.9 miles)
Elevation:
430 m (1,411‘)
Lead-In: 1 km (0.6 miles)
Map: France

Start & Finish

Begins and ends at the Marina Sprint banner.

Achievement Badge: 1220 XP

Strava Strava Segments

Petit Boucle

Bike Selection

This loop is flat and fast. Your fastest times will come from an aero setup!

Fastest Frames >
Fastest Wheels >

Route Description

Route profile by ZwiftHub – the place to plan and track your route achievements!

This route begins with almost an entire loop of the R.G.V. route, but it turns left near the end, heading toward the start pens instead of the finish line. This takes you uphill to a left-hand turn onto the Petit KOM’s descent.

After a right at the next fork, we’re back on the road we started with, in the opposite direction. That means we’ll hit the Aqueduc KOM and Pavé Sprint before passing Mont Saint-Michel and the lighthouse and heading into the marina for a Marina Sprint.

Then it’s along the twisty river road with hot air balloons floating in the sky, where we’ll hit the Ballon sprint.

Next we turn right onto the Petit KOM – the longest climb of this route. Finish the climb, descend past the starting pens, and finish with one more Marina Reverse Sprint.

Stage 2: Ven-Top (20.9km/13 miles, 1534m/5033')

Animated “Ven-Top” Route Details (France) Map
Animated map provided by ZwiftHacks
Released with Zwift’s France map for the first-ever Virtual Tour de France, the “Ven-Top” route is named for the massive climb it contains: Mont Ventoux! This GPS-accurate model of the world-famous climb is by far the toughest ascent in game, climbing 1480 meters (4857′) from the beginning to end of the timed KOM segment.

Released with Zwift’s France map for the first-ever Virtual Tour de France, the “Ven-Top” route is named for the massive climb it contains: Mont Ventoux! This GPS-accurate model of the world-famous climb is by far the toughest ascent in game, climbing 1480 meters (4857′) from the beginning to end of the timed KOM segment.

Route Basics

Length: 20.9 km (13.0 miles)
Elevation:
1534 m (5,033‘)
Lead-In: 0 km ( miles)
Map: France

Start & Finish

Begins at start pens, ends atop Mont Ventoux at KOM arch

Restriction:

Achievement Badge: 420 XP

Banners and Leaderboards

(in order of appearance)
Mont Ventoux KOM

Bike Selection

Looking to get your fastest time up this massive climb? The Specialized Tarmac Pro frame with Lightweight Meilenstein wheels is your best bet! Check out Fastest Bike Frame and Wheelset for Climbing Alpe du Zwift for more tips.

Route Description

Route profile by ZwiftHub – the place to plan and track your route achievements!

The route begins at the start pens heading east (away from the marina) and immediately onto a false flat. Enjoy it while you can: it’s only going to get steeper!

The timed KOM begins approximately 1.8km after the start. From here you have 19km and 1480m to the top of Mont Ventoux, or you can target the first KOM arch at Chalet Reynard which is 13km and 1058m from the KOM start line. (For comparison, the Chalet Reynard KOM line makes this climb very similar to Alpe du Zwift, which is 12.2km long with 1035m of elevation gain.)

When you pass the Didi ballon and see pitchforks on the pavement, you know you’re getting close to Chalet Reynard. Keep pushing for another 500 meters to that KOM banner. Then you have a decision to make: do you have what it takes to push for another 6km and 400+ meters to the top? (Of course you do! You’ve made it this far. Keep going!)

Notice how the landscape and foliage changes as you climb, beginning with rolling hills and pastures, morphing into a landscape strewn with giant boulders and pine trees, and eventually changing to the famous “moonscape” of Mont Ventoux’s upper reaches. Be happy you’re indoors – it gets windy outside!

You’ll pass Tom Simpson’s memorial with 1km to go. Almost there!

When you reach the weather station atop Mont Ventoux, you’ve completed the Ven-Top route. But keep riding on the flat loop to turn around, then enjoy the long descent – you’ve earned it!

 

Stage 3: La Reine (22.8km/14.2 miles, 1181m/3875')

Animated “La Reine” Route Details (France) Map
Animated map provided by ZwiftHacks
Released with Zwift’s France map for the first-ever Virtual Tour de France, La Reine (translated “The Queen”) is the Queen Stage of the vTDF, taking riders up Mount Ventoux to the Chalet Reynard banner. It’s also the only route that isn’t listed in the France map’s route picker, indicating that La Reine will continue to be event-only even after the France map is added to the guest map rotation. This route is an alternative way to ride Mount Ventoux, but be warned: it bypasses the Mount Ventoux KOM start line, so if you choose to ride all the way to the top, you won’t be listed on the leaderboard or Strava segments for the climbs! (If you want to ride the KOM start to finish, select the Ven-Top route.)

Released with Zwift’s France map for the first-ever Virtual Tour de France, La Reine (translated “The Queen”) is the Queen Stage of the vTDF, taking riders up Mount Ventoux to the Chalet Reynard banner. It’s also the only route that isn’t listed in the France map’s route picker, indicating that La Reine will continue to be event-only even after the France map is added to the guest map rotation.

This route is an alternative way to ride Mount Ventoux, but be warned: it bypasses the Mount Ventoux KOM start line, so if you choose to ride all the way to the top, you won’t be listed on the leaderboard or Strava segments for the climbs! (If you want to ride the KOM start to finish, select the Ven-Top route.)

Route Basics

Length: 22.8 km (14.2 miles)
Elevation:
1181 m (3,875‘)
Lead-In: 0 km ( miles)
Map: France

Start & Finish

Begins from start pens, ends at Chalet-Reynard KOM banner partway up Ventoux.

Restriction: Event Only

Banners and Leaderboards

(in order of appearance)
Ballon Sprint
Petit KOM

Strava Strava Segments

La Reine

Bike Selection

Looking to get your fastest time up this climb? The Specialized Tarmac Pro frame with Lightweight Meilenstein wheels is your best bet! Check out Fastest Bike Frame and Wheelset for Climbing Alpe du Zwift for more tips.

Route Description

We begin by traveling west from the start pens, then taking the first right to ride along the twisty river road toward the hot air balloon fields and Ballon sprint. Enjoy your 8km of flat warmup, because you’ll soon turn right and begin the Petit KOM climb – and your climbing won’t end until you reach the KOM banner at Chalet Reynard over 14km (and 1100 meters) later!

The climb up to Chalet Reynard is beautiful, with the landscape morphing from lowland rolling hills to granite-strewn pine forests. You’ll pass the Didi (aka “El Diablo”) balloon 1km from the finish line. Got anything left? Push it to the end!

Keep Going?

For those unfamiliar with Mount Ventoux’s layout, Chalet Reynard is located 6km before the finish line at the very top of Mount Ventoux. If you choose, you can continue riding after finishing the La Reine route, climbing for another 6km to the summit.

A bit of TDF History

In 2016, Tour organizers cut the Mont Ventoux stage short due to high winds, deciding to end it at Chalet Reynard. Race leader Chris Froome crashed into a stopped moto and famously elected to run his way across the final ~1km since he couldn’t ride his broken bike! (He was eventually given a neutral service bike.)

A Note About Categories

Categories for the Virtual Haute Route Ventoux events are set up differently than what we typically see. Every event has A-E categories, but they are all for the same ability level and route. Basically, it appears Zwift has set it up this way so ride groups are smaller, since Zwifters on low-powered/older devices sometimes suffer from bugs or crashes in busy rides.

If your system bogs down when you’re in large group rides, join the category with the least number of riders. On the other hand, if you want to ride with the largest group possible, sign up for the category with the most riders!

Colnago E64

Prizes and Unlocks

Zwifters who complete any stage will unlock the exclusive Haute Route Ventoux kit by Le Col to wear with pride in the game.

You can purchase the real life kit from Le Col’s website, and you’ll earn exclusive Le Col discounts by completing stages. Complete every stage for the chance to win one of three spots at an outdoor 2021 Haute Route event or one of two Colnago e-bikes!

Sign up and details will be at www.zwift.com/hauteroute >

About Haute Route

Haute Route has made a name for itself by creating challenging three and seven-day events in some of the world’s most iconic cycling destinations. Their events are essentially fully-supported stage races for passionate yet amateur cyclists. Some riders race the events, others seek to only challenge themselves, while others just want to enjoy the scenery. Some do all three!

Velo News says, “Haute Route events are at, or near, the pinnacle—for every pedal stroke on every stage—at offering the pro experience, both on and off the bike.”