Stage 9 preview
Course: The peloton faces one more punishing test before the first rest day, and this stage again doses out pain in a relatively short (154km) distance. The presence of five categorized climbs, with a relatively flat finish, makes this stage ideal for a breakaway to succeed. Expect to see the best baroudeurs attack early. Still, keep your eyes peeled for a GC skirmish on the category 1 Col de Marie-Blanque, as the base of the descent is just 6km from the finish.
Favorites: Thomas De Gendt, Philippe Gilbert, Tiesj Benoot, Daryl Impey
Jens Voigt’s take: The long transfer after yesterday’s stage did not help the recovery for the riders. The city of Pau is so incredibly loyal to the Tour, and we had countless stages starting or finishing in Pau. Today, I don’t care what others say — it’s a guaranteed day for a high-quality breakaway. It’s 20km to go from the last KOM to the finish, too far in modern cycling to see the GC contenders move. Maybe a highly motivated Peter Sagan goes in the break to score points for the green jersey and win the stage. Don’t forget, tomorrow is rest.