This stage is the longest of this 100th Tour. It is also one of the most prestigious because nobody wins by chance on the Ventoux, especially not on 14 July? There are two scenarios: either a group gets away from a long way out and maintains enough of an advantage for the escapees to fight it between themselves; or the leaders shut down the race as far as the foot of the climb, transforming the stage into one enormous hill-climb! Depending on the weather, a lot of damage could be done today. Imagine what it could be like if there's blazing heat all day? Whether you're in the yellow jersey or not, if you do badly on this climb you will lose a quarter of an hour!
Another great win, and a very exciting finish.
This is going to be fun. Maybe Quintana to win (especially as he's got a load of domestiques dedicated to him now)? Froome could get another one in the bag? Or even Contador? Unless they let a break go... Of course, with it being Bastille day and all, everyone remotely French is going to want to win. Chavanel? Rolland? Gadret? Bardet? Roy? Pinot is meant to be ill, and Voeckler is crap and everyone hates him, so I think they're out..
It sounds like Evans and Schleck want to give it a go too, but, well...
Here's a reminder of what happened to Tony Martin on Ventoux in 2009..
Weather is looking quite warm, but not massively so. No real wind predicted either. Nice. I've heard the estimated number of fans to be on Ventoux is around 300,000.
A few useful links
Mike's Men - no Fro by mikewingrave has taken 1st place again, knocking Ro5ey's Roulers by andy rose into 2nd, in the fantasy league. Time to do some crashing still at the bottom in the loser league... Yawn...
http://www.cyclingnews.com/features/tour-de-france-gallery-mont-ventoux - more reminders here
http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/tour-de-france-riders-appeal-to-public-via-twitter - but will they listen...
http://www.cyclingnews.com/blogs/robert-millar/the-storming-of-froomes-bastille - ...but you should always listen to Millar
I believe it was 46 years ago yesterday that Tom Simpson died. I remember stopping by his memorial on Ventoux when I was there - I imagine it will look quite different today.
And once again, the backstage pass video from OGE is always worth a watch