The climbing starts very early today as riders head for the summit of the Col de la Gorge at 1,140 metres. The climb is a category 2, 8.6 kilometres long at 4.5%.
The German border is not far from here, hence the name “Gorge”. The climb has been used just 9 times in the Tour, the first time way back in 1931.
The German roots of the region also show in the name of the second climb. The Col du Wettstein (880 metres) is reached after 41 kilometers. The climb is 7.7 kilometres at 4.1%, considered as category 3.
Next up come two shorter climbs. The category 3 Côte des Cinq Châteaux is first up and is 4.5 kilometres long at 6.1%. The summit at 560 metres is reached after 70 kilometres of racing. 16 kilometres later the riders reach the Côte Gueberschwihr, a 4.1 kilometre climb at 7.9%. The summit is at 559 metres.
The German influence continues in the longest climb of the day, the Markstein. It is the only 1st category climb in stage 9 and is 10.8 kilometres long at 5.4%. The summit is at 1,183 metres. The highest point of this ski resort is at 1,266 metres, the peak called the Jungfraukopf.
Tomorrow’s stage to La Planche des Belles Filles features the Petit Ballon, while today’s programme visits the Grand Ballon (photo). It’s a 1.4 kilometre climb with an 8.6% gradient, climbing to an altitude of 1,336 metres. It’s a 3rd category climb due to its lenght but it’s a steep one. Today marks its 7th appearance in the Tour.
At 1,424 metres, the top of the Grand Ballon is the highest point of the Vosges Mountains and located just above the tree line. The mountain is located in the Ballons des Vosges National Park in the south of the Vosges. The riders don’t go all the way to the top, they go up to 1,336 metres.
Tour de France 2014 stage 9: Images and more
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