Stage 9 of the 2013 Tour de France promises to be action packed, with five big climbs sure to give us a clear indication of who is capable of challenging Chris Froome for overall honours.
Froome stormed into the yellow jersey with victory in Stage 8, a mountaintop finish in the ski resort of Ax-3-Domaines, none of his rivals able to keep pace with the Kenyan after he was set up to perfection by Team Sky team-mate Richie Porte.
Froome now leads Porte in the General Classification by 51 seconds, with Movistar’s Alejandro Valverde 1:25 behind in 3rd position.
The day starts with a Category 2 climb – the Col de Portet-d’Aspet, followed by afour straight Category 1 climbs, the last of which is the La Horquette d’Ancizan, a 10 kilometre climb with an average gradient of 7.5%.
The summit of the last climb is followed by a 20 kilometre descent to the finish line, so significant moves by the GC contenders aren’t expected – but we do expect to see some riders struggle with the tempo likely to be set by the boys from Sky.
With big names like Cadel Evans, Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck all seemingly struggling on yesterday’s stage, seeing how the fare tonight will be intriguing.
You can join me for all the live action from 10:30pm AEST on The Roar – theroar.com.au/cycling