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Business execs take on the ‘Beast of Provence’

A duo of executives from Bolton-based Premex Group will lead a team of brave cyclists as they tackle 'The Beast of Provence' this summer.

Chief Executive Donald Fowler and Sales and Marketing Director Chris Wheatley will be pitting their wits against one of France's most grueling mountains, Mont Ventoux, alongside nine co-riders. 

Just two weeks before the Tour De France Grand Depart in Yorkshire, this mini-peloton will be scaling the 6700 ft Ventoux on 27th June to raise funds for amongst others, the Wooden Spoon and Clatterbridge Cancer Charity. 

"Mont Ventoux is in the Provence region in southern France, and is one of the most feared mountains in cycling with an average gradient of 7.1%," says Chris Wheatley. "It regularly features on the route of the Tour de France and is well known as one of the most demanding climbs in the race. It's a daunting prospect but one that myself and Donald are really looking forward to taking on. It beats going up and down the North Pennine Moors in training!" 

Alongside Donald and Chris will be a number of other North West business people including David Bott from Cheshire-based Bott & Co and Andrew Simcott from Michael W Halsalls Solicitors in Newton le Willows. The remainder of the team comprises Jonathan Scarsbrook from Irwin Mitchell, Craig Budsworth from Garvins, Russell Atkinson from National Accident Helpline and Peter Thompson from BGL Group.

The cyclists will be tackling a 120km route, culminating in scaling the summit of Mt Ventoux from the "Bedoin" side of the mountain, which exposes the riders to the full glare of the sun and famous 'Mistral' winds in what is a barren, moonlike environment. 

The team will climb 22.7km to the summit of Mont Ventoux, from where they can enjoy views of the Mediterranean to the South and the Alps to the East.  They will then make a 30km decent back home.  

The mountain's history is tinged with sadness and glory. The latter for moments such as Chris Froome's famous victory at the summit on his way to 1st place in the 2013 Tour and also tragedy; British cyclist Tom Simpson died 2km from the top in 1967. His memorial is there at the place he fell and traditionally, riders will place a small memento carried up the mountain onto his memorial.