Ben Swift (Sky Procycling) got his first taste of the Pyrenees on stage 12, while his teammate Geraint Thomas spent much of the day on a daring escape only to be swallowed up by the peloton on the ascent to Luz-Ardiden.
Swift finished the day in the grupetto, 33 minutes down in the winning time set by Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi). The Brit was in good company though, with other noted fast men including Mark Cavendish and Andre Greipel there with him.
In this video, the 23-year-old explains that his first day on the real mountain passes of the Tour de France, gave him the opportunity to experience what the event was really all about.
"It was good to get in the hills today and experience what the Tour de France is all about with the crowds," Swift said.
"You just get on your bike and just ride now. I've got sore legs but everyone's got sore legs."