Stage Report: The wet weather returned to the Tour de France and, with stage 9 being held in the mountains, there was also thick fog. Marc Hirschi (Sunweb) went for a long solo ride to be caught 3K out by the top men. Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) won the stage and Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) took the overall lead.
A punchy sprint win from Tadej Pogacar
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Adam Yates – hopeful at the start?
Stage 9 Route:
Tour director, Christian Prudhomme describes the stage: “The mountainous program of the day starts with the discovery of the Col de la Hourcère which will immediately precede the climb to the Col de Soudet. For the seventh time since the beginning of the Tour, the riders will ride at an altitude of over 1,500m. They will then battle it out on the extremely steep climb up to the Col de Marie Blanque before heading back down to Laruns.”
There were many attacks in the first 60 kilometres. The flat run-up to the first climb provided a lively race where everyone wanted to be in the break of the day. But no attempt, by group or individual, was allowed. It was going to be a crazy day. The biggest victim of the fast start was Fabio Aru. The UAE Team Emirates leader was the only one dropped by the peloton and was several minutes behind, just in front of the broom wagon. He abandoned on the first climb of the day. A complete peloton started the Col de la Hourcère (11.1 km at 8.8%) and there were more attacks.
Jumbo-Visma’s tactics were also quite apparent. Every attack by an INEOS Grenadiers rider had to be countered, Wout van Aert was the man for the task. He was also there when Thibaut Pinot set up a leading group. Marc Hirschi turned out to be the strongest attacker, he was joined by Lennard Kämna, Sébastien Reichenbach, Davide Formolo and Warren Barguil. Daniel Martínez, David Gaudu and Jonathan Castroviejo tried later.
A bit of unexpected cyclocross for Lennard Kemna
Castroviejo’s attack was not countered by Jumbo-Visma, which was at the head of the group with six men. The pace was high and Pinot had to pay for his previous efforts and was dropped. Thirty riders were left in the front group, 1:30 from Hirschi and 20 seconds behind the Martínez group. Just before the top of the Hourcère, Omar Fraile from Astana managed to make the jump to the chasing group, but Jumbo-Visma kept the gap small.
The speed was on from the start
In the fog and rain, lone leader Hirschi, extended his lead to 1:30 on the pursuers, at the foot of the next climb, the Col de Soudet (3.8 km at 7.4). The Swiss rider from Sunweb continued to take more time on the Castroviejo group on the climb. With a lead of more than 2 minutes, Hirschi dived into the long descent of the Soudet to extended his advantage to 3:30.
Jumbo-Visma leading the chase
Jumbo-Visma in turn controlled the chase and kept the gap to the Castroviejo group to around a minute. Reichenbach was no longer part of that chasing group of seven, due to his descending skills he fell back into the peloton. The Jumbo-Visma train then took the chasing group back just before the penultimate climb of the day. Hirschi started the Col d’Ichère (4.2 km at 7%), 4:30 minutes ahead of the peloton.
A wet Egan Bernal
The 22-year-old U23 World Champion from Innsbruck saw his lead drop to 3 minutes due to the work by Van Aert and Gesink. This was the difference at the foot of the very tough Col de Marie Blanque (9.2 km at 7.7%, max. 14%). Gesink and Van Aert in turn thinned out the peloton, after which Sepp Kuss took over the lead. That was too fast for Emanuel Buchmann (BORA-hansgrohe).
The mist descended
The first attack from the favourites was from Tadej Pogacar. His attack was countered by Tom Dumoulin, who had Primoz Roglic on his wheel. Dumoulin’s pace was too fast for many: Adam Yates was one of then and was losing the yellow jersey. Roglic jumped on his countryman’s wheel, with Mikel Landa, Egan Bernal and Richie Porte all following him. Nairo Quintana, Rigoberto Urán, Romain Bardet and Guillaume Martin had missed the move.
Hard work again from Wout Van Aert
Bernal put in an attack on the steep part of the Marie Blanque, with ramps above 10%. Along with the Colombian, Roglič, Pogačar, Landa and Porte turned out to have the best legs, but they looked at each other. Roglic, in virtual yellow, set the pace. In the final kilometre of the climb, the Roglic group got closer to the solo Hirschi.
A very strong effort from Marc Hirschi
Just before the top; Bardet jumped to the front group and took Quintana, Urán, Martin and Bauke Mollema with him. At the top; Hirschi took the 8 bonus seconds, Roglic and Pogacar sprinted for the 5 and 2 seconds.
Roglič covered every move in the chase
Roglič, Landa, Bernal and Pogačar were 15 seconds behind Hirschi on the descent, the Swiss rider took all the risks to keep his lead. The group of Porte and Martin followed at 40 seconds and the group of Yates/Dumoulin at 1:10 minutes from Hirschi.
So close for Hirschi
Hirschi dropped like a brick and extended his lead to 25 seconds. There were 5 more flat kilometres to the finish line. The four pursuers worked very well on that stretch and got closer and closer to Hirschi, who started to look back more and more.
At 1.6 kilometres from the finish, Hirschi was caught by the four, but the Swiss knew he still had a slim chance in the sprint. Roglic entered the last metres on the front. Hirschi then started the sprint first, but he was passed by Pogačar. Roglič was second, just ahead of Hirschi. The first chasing group crossed the line 11 seconds later and was led by Mollema. The group with Yates and Dumoulin followed at 54 seconds.
Hirschi nearly pulled it off, but it was the younger Slovenian in the end who took the stage
On the general classification, Primoz Roglič took over the lead from Adam Yates. The Slovenian has a lead of 21 seconds on Egan Bernal. Guillaume Martin is third at 28 seconds. Romain Bardet fourth at 30 seconds, Nairo Quintana fifth and Rigoberto Urán sixth at 32 seconds. Pogacar is seventh at 44 seconds. Yates dropped to 8th place and is now 1:02 minutes behind Roglic.
And the winner is…. Tadej Pogačar
Stage winner, Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates): “It’s really crazy. This victory comes after a hard day. Thanks to my team-mates. They’vedone a good job all day. I’m happy to pull this victory. At the end, I wanted to take as much time as I could on GC. In the last 100 metres, I thought of the 10’’ bonus awarded to the winner. I focused on the sprint. I don’t know what happened in the sprint. I just went full gas. I’m really happy with my first week at the Tour. I made only one mistake. As a team, we took two stages, it’s really good so far.”
Roglič’s first Tour yellow jersey
Overall leader, Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma): “It has been a very special day. The stage was really hard, we raced full gas from the gun. I saw my teammates were really motivated and therefore I decided to go for the yellow jersey. I’m super happy of this yellow jersey, especially for the guys. They did a great job, keeping me in great position throughout the race. I don’t think the race will change for us now. We already raced with the mission of winning in Paris. We just need to keep focused and fight every day. I wanted to win the stage today. Anyway, I have to say congrats to Tadej Pogačar. It’s really nice to see him winning. We’ve exchanged positions from the previous time we sprinted for victory! I am not disappointed by the outcome of the race: you don’t get the yellow jersey every day.”
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Tour de France Stage 9 Result:
1. Tadej Pogačar (Slov) UAE Team Emirates in 3:55:17
2. Primož Roglič (Slov) Jumbo-Visma
3. Marc Hirschi (Swi) Sunweb
4. Egan Bernal (Col) INEOS Grenadiers
5. Mikel Landa Spa) Bahrain-McLaren
6. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 0:11
7. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis
8. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
9. Richie Porte (Aus) Trek – Segafredo
10. Rigoberto Urán (Col) EF Pro Cycling
11. Nairo Quintana (Col) Arkea-Samsic at 0:11
12. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain-McLaren at 0:54
13. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 0:54
14. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:54
15. Adam Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:54
16. Miguel Angel Lopez Moreno (Col) Astana at 0:54
17. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 0:54
18. Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar at 0:54
19. Ion Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Astana at 1:14
20. Sergio Andres Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Pro Cycling at 3:12
21. Sepp Kuss (USA) Jumbo-Visma at 3:12
22. Gregor Mühlberger (Aut) BORA-hansgrohe at 4:12
23. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe at 4:12
24. Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 4:12
25. Harold Alfonso Tejada Canacue (Col) Astana at 4:12.
Tour de France Overall After Stage 9:
1. Primož Roglič (Slov) Jumbo-Visma in 38:40:01
2. Egan Bernal (Col) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:21
3. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis at 0:28
4. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:30
5. Nairo Quintana (Col) Arkéa Samsic at 0:32
6. Rigoberto Urán (Col) EF Pro Cycling
7. Tadej Pogačar (Slov) UAE Team Emirates at 0:44
8. Adam Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott at 1:02
9. Miguel Ángel López (Col) Astana at 1:15
10. Mikel Landa (Spa) Bahrain-McLaren at 1:42
11. Richie Porte (Aus) Trek-Segafredo at 1:53
12. Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar at 2:02
13. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 2:31
14. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 3:22
15. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) INEOS Grenadiers at 3:42
16. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain-McLaren at 3:42
17. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 3:43
18. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe at 5:45
19. Sergio Andres Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Pro Cycling at 6:08
20. Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott at 12:13
21. Pierre Rolland (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept at 15:21
22. Warren Barguil (Fra) Arkea-Samsic at 18:26
23. Hugh Carthy (GB) EF Pro Cycling at 20:04
24. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 28:32
25. Ion Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Astana at 28:51.
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