Sunday, 11 July 2010

Stage 9 Preview: A Col that will crush egos and descents that could dislodge a few

Tomorrow will be a much needed rest day, but on Tuesday, the riders will have to be on the top of their game as they head into the main Alpine stage. With the Col de la Colombière pass via Le Reposoir, the Col des Aravis pass, Les Saisies and the Col de la Madeleine pass, there are bound to be further shake ups in the GC. However, with no summit finish, riders will be unable wait for the finishs to open up the gaps. The favourites might not want to attack to avoid finding themselves alone on the flat, which means a big battle is an unlikely scenario. That said, those who are not good downhill riders could lose Le Tour in the finish to this stage.

Starting in Morzine-Avoriaz, a Tour favourite since 1975, as this will be the Tour’s twenty fourth visit to the town that has hosted the Tour 17 times, and provides a beautiful setting for a welcome repos. The peloton will ease into the stage with a cat 4 and a cat 5 climb, before tackling a cat 1, a cat 2 and a final cat 1 before the little bump of a final cat 5 that will contrast magnificently with the hors categorie climb of the Col de la Madeline. The Madeline is sure to crush the egos of many in this gruelling stage that is sure to test many, not least of all the sprinters, who will be doing all they can to survive as part of the gruepetto that will form at the furthest point back from the race leaders. There are sure to be those for whom this, if not before, is where their Tour ends. A difficult climb even for the average rider, it is sure to be a test of will and psyche for everyone.

Having really driven the nail into a struggling Armstrong, whose ride was beset with crashes and holdups the day before the repos, Astana are sure to put the hammer down once more. World Champion Evans (BMC) may be wearing the Maillot Jaune at the start of the day, but will he manage to keep it into stage 10? With Astana turning the screw at every possible chance, he may find that defending the Jersey is all too much. A tired Wiggins (Sky) appeared to "bonk" on the final climb of stage 8. Will he lose any more time on stage 9?

1 comment :

  1. Given how weak his team is, Evans will want to hand over the yellow jersey at the earliest possible opportunity (to a non-contender, obviously). If he can hang on over the Madeleine, stage 10 is a sure-fire breakaway where he and the other contenders will probably be happy to sit up and let someone else's team defend the jersey all the way to the Pyrenees.

    If you're interested, here's my review of yesterday's epic stage: