By Paul Verkuylen
The Col du Tourmalet, the Mont Ventoux, the Col du Galibier, Hautacam and Alpe d'Huez - those magical high mountains in the Alps and the Pyrénées that set the Tour apart from any other stage race on the planet. Cyclingnews takes a look at these mountains and how they can shape the Tour from year to year.
Climbers love them, sprinters hate them, but no matter who you are, one thing is certain: as soon as the Tour hits the mountains, the suffering begins. The climbers fight for stage wins or to gain time on their rivals for the time trials, the sprinters and the domestiques fight to stay inside the time limit, so that they can live to extract revenge in the flatter stages that will follow.
Spectators love watching up close the pain and hurt that each rider goes through in their own version of hell, as well as offering them encouragement as they make their way to the summit.
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