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Stage 9 Preview

Hope you enjoyed your rest day, Cyclists. For a stage that ends at a lower altitude than the start, this is gonna hurt. What makes this a spectacle is how tough the race gets right off the bat. No sleeping in tomorrow, not when the first 15km of the race ascend to one of the highest roads in Europe, atop the windy, open pass at the Col de l'Iseran, over 9000 feet up. Following that are 70km of descents, all the way down to 2200 feet, a depressing statistic when the race is next scheduled to climb back into the 9000 foot range over the Cols de Telegraphie and Galibier. That last little effort consists of 27.5km of hors categoire climbing with a brief 5km downhill respite in the middle. Then, finally, it's 38km downhill into Briançon.

The stats:

  • Col de l'Iseran: 15km @ 6% (hors catégorie)
  • Col du Telegraphe: 12km @ 6.7% (1st Cat)
  • Col du Galibier: 17.5km @ 6.9% (hors catégorie)

I'm going with le Tongue again. I suspect that while the Chicken may not be a total disaster on the descents, Moreau is going to ride with a huge chip on his shoulder. Some of these other guys should take notes.