The 2,000m mark will force the riders to enter into a new dimension. They will reach it just before making it to the Col du Tourmalet, by the time the battle between the best climbers should be at its most entertaining. On a rather intense format, the stage will, before that, feature two other climbs: the Col du Soulor.
The Tourmalet is the mountain most visited by the Tour de France and first featured in 1910. This year's ascent is on a comparatively short stage of 117km. The final ascent to the summit finish is 19km long at an average of 7.4 percent and was the scene of a classic struggle in the fog in 2010 where Andy Schleck just edged Alberto Contador.