TdF Stage 9 Preview: High-Altitude, Low Drama

It's a quinella of Cat-1 peaks in Sunday's final Pyrenean stage, leading to a long descent.

Stage 9: Saint-Girons - Bagneres-de-Bigorre, 168 km

Stage rating: High mountains.

Jerseys in play:

Mj_medium Mb_medium Mp_medium

Stage Grafix:

St_9_medium

Profil_medium

Final climb of the day:

Profilcolscotes_3_medium

Analysis

Sunday should be packed with action, featuring five pretty hefty climbs in the high Pyrenees and a long descent to the line in Bagneres-de-Bigorre. Following a day of dominance by Team Sky and a rest day on the horizon, look for the losers from Saturday to try to get themselves back into contention, while Team Sky tries to keep things under control.

None of the climbs made the top seven in Will's Mountains Preview but three of them outrank the climb to Ax-3-Domaines, where Chris Froome put paid to the rest of the peloton. In other words, it's not a day to take lightly by any means. The Col de Peyresourde, a Tour regular and #3 of 5 on this stage, is a steady 7% climb for 13 km, while La Hourquette d'Ancizan, pictured above, is the main course. If someone wants to put a hurt on someone else, they'll have that opportunity. And anyone who's suffering will be long gone from the leading group by the time the leaders point downhill for the line.

But strategically speaking, this course doesn't seem likely to produce the race-defining attacks we saw Saturday. More likely, Sky will want to ride hard and keep everyone in line, minimizing the chance of other teams' tactics coming into play. A stage like this with a long descent could be extremely exciting, but only if Sky allow that, and Sky will be heavily invested in keeping this stage, and this Tour, as boring as possible. The last meter of climbing is 20km from the line, so whatever happens on the uphill will likely be superseded by the descending tactics and the last km.

Pick to Win

Alejandro Valverde, Movistar. If at first you don't succeed, sit on wheels and sprint it out.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Podium Cafe

You must be a member of Podium Cafe to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Podium Cafe. You should read them.

Join Podium Cafe

You must be a member of Podium Cafe to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Podium Cafe. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.