The longest stage of Le Tour 2013 promises to be a most compelling competition but it is no ordinary day on the race. This is a battle for bragging rights. Rising to an altitude of 1,912 metres Mont Ventoux inspires writers and riders alike. More has arguably been said about this one climb than any other in the long history of the Tour de France. It is brutal and beautiful. And the winner here becomes part of the legend of the race. To conquer the slopes Giant of Provence – just by reaching the summit – is a dream for almost every cyclist and tomorrow someone gets to add their name to the winner's list.
No one in the peloton of the 100th Tour has won at the top of the Ventoux but some have enjoyed success at the top of Ventoux.
Cadel Evans beat Robert Gesink at Mont Serein during Paris-Nice in 2008, the first year he wore the yellow jersey at the Tour de France. But this victory didn't happen on the road from Bedoin to the summit, rather it was on the other side – and lower down the slopes.
And, in the Tour's most recent visit, Tony Martin nearly earned a surprise victory for Germany after being part of an escape group that held off the GC riders, the climbing specialists and the favourites for the stage. The TT world champion was second behind Juan Manuel Garate in the year of his Tour debut.
The stories of these two riders – Evans and Martin – remind us that success can come from renown climbers or escape artists.
As it's not part of a mountain range, the days of the Tour to Mont Ventoux are traditionally long and on Bastille Day 2013 it will be no different: 242.5km, and only the final 20 uphill. It's a stage that begs for the brave to attack early but demands full concentration from the overall favourites. Chris Froome has his theories on how the race will be played out and although he has proven to be one of the strongest climbers in the race, he admits that he might not be chasing the Ventoux victory as the priority is GC: general classification ahead of a rare chance of glory... but the latter may just come his way by virtue of his overall ambitions.