Preview: What you need to know about stage 9 of the 2021 Tour de France

A big final climb ahead of the first rest day.

by Matt de Neef

Date: Sunday July 4
Start: Cluses
Finish: Tignes
Distance: 145 km

The Tour heads to Tignes two years after a landslide derailed the last attempt to finish a stage there. This stage isn’t terribly long, but it is hard. Two second-category climbs, two first-category climbs, and the race’s first HC climb combine on a stage that features the Tour’s first proper mountaintop finish.

Well, it’s not technically a mountaintop finish – the last climb, the first-category Montée de Tignes (21 km at 5.6%), actually peaks 1.9 km from the finish – but it’s close enough. The riders will have their first rest day after this.

What to watch for: This stage goes as high as 2,100 m. Could altitude be a factor? Advantage Colombians?

Who’s it for: Climbers, although it’s tough to say whether the stage will go to the breakaway or the GC contenders.

Dane Cash’s picks: If the battle for stage 9 comes down to the yellow jersey group, it’s hard to look past the rider in yellow himself, considering how strong he looked on stage 8. That said, Tadej Pogačar could at some point decide to ride a bit more conservatively with his big lead, in which case Richard Carapaz looks like a solid contender. It seems just as likely, however, that the stage will go to a rider given freedom to go off the front. Miguel Ángel López, Bauke Mollema, and Michael Woods are among the many talented climbers far enough back on GC to potentially get up the road.

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