A seven-year-old girl from Bath has ridden up Mont Ventoux in Provence – and is thought to be the youngest cyclist ever to have done so.
Miriam Goode rode up the mountain nicknamed the Géant de Provence with her teddy bear in the back pocket of her jersey and with her 10-year-old sister Poppy pedalling alongside her.
The pair were accompanied by their mother Miranda, while their father Jonny followed them in a support car on their ride earlier this month, reports the Bath Chronicle.
— Monkton Sport (@monktonsport) August 9, 2017
They rode on Team Sky-branded Frog bikes and among those offering their congratulations on Twitter was one of the team’s riders, Luke Rowe.
That's impressive, well done guys
— Luke Rowe (@LukeRowe1990) August 12, 2017
After finishing her 2 hour 20 minute ride to the 1,912-metre summit where she was cheered by other cyclists, Miriam said: "I enjoyed the challenge and that people were so amazed and taking photos of us.”
Her sister Poppy added: “The best bit was going through the woods and getting to eat lots of sweets to keep up our energy."
The youngsters attend Monkton Prep School in Combe Down where their parents work as boarding houseparents.
The Bath Chronicle says that the girls and their mother spent a month training for their exploit. Handily, one of the city’s toughest climbs is right outside where they live.
Their father Jonny said: “We are so delighted with both Miriam and Poppy’s efforts. Both feel extremely proud of what they have achieved and loved the fact they were the youngest cyclists on the mountain!
"Monkton is a school where we encourage all the children to participate in as many sports as possible, whatever their level and ability.
“As well as the traditional team sports, we want the children to have the opportunity to experience triathlons and biathlons, learning to love exercise and making it part of their daily lives as they grow up,” he added.
Last year, Alfie Earl from Islington rode up Mont Ventoux at the age of nine.
He wasn’t the youngest cyclist at the time to have conquered the mountain, with an eight-year-old believed to have previously ridden up it on a mountain bike.
Lex Reurings, who runs the Dutch language website De Kale Berg (‘the Bare Mountain’) ad has written a book about Mont Ventoux, believes Miriam is the youngest to have cycled up it, and certainly from the Bédoin side, the route usually taken by the Tour de France when it is included on the parcours.
I cannot find someone younger than 8 years, so yes, I think so. And most kids climb from Sault which is less hard.
— DeKaleBerg (@kaleberg) August 12, 2017
In an article on the De Kale Berg website, Reurings highlights some of the youngsters who have taken on and defeated the mountain, and concludes with the question, “Is it healthy to undertake such a heavy effort at such a young age?”
The article quotes paediatric cardiologist Katya De Groote, who told HLN.be: “Parents with children who are keen about cycling needn’t worry too much.
“Any sporty child who is used to some effort and is well prepared for the climb can take it on.
“Of course, it’s not justified if your child only does a 20-kilometre bike ride once a year, but I assume that the children of sporty parents get enough exercise themselves.”
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.