Date: Sunday July 10
Finish: Les Chatel Portes du Soleil
Distance: 183 km
We stay in Switzerland for the start of stage 9 in Aigle, home to the UCI headquarters. Today marks “the first authentic mountain test” as the race makes its way to the Alps.
The final 50 km features two first-category climbs. Firstly, the Col de la Croix, 8.1 km at 7.6%, before a descent back down and through Aigle before the 15.4 km-long Pas de Morgins at 6.1%, the summit less than 10 km from the finish line.
Who will win stage 9?
A Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) sort of day, you say? I couldn’t agree more. Or maybe Alexey Lutsenko (Astana Qazaqstan)? Could even be one for Groupama-FDJ’s Aussie climber, Michael Storer.
Wouldn’t it be nice if the French cohort were to close out the first week on a high as the Tour re-enters France? Perhaps it’ll be a first big outing for Pierre Rolland (B&B Hotels-KTM) who’s been invisible since his breakaway attempt in Denmark. Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) could do with a morale boost too, and he’s got to get cracking on his KOM objective at some point.
However, the way things are going, there’s a fair chance the breakaway will have their day ruined again, in which case: who but Tadej Pogačar?