Once the flag is dropped Port de la Bonaigua looms, a 19 kilometres climb at 5% that will detonate the fireworks. Without a doubt one bold escapee after the other will try to break loose.
After cresting a 20 kilometres drop and a rolling section of around 27.5 kilometres the riders to the foot of the next climb. Col d’El Canto is 19.3 kilometres at 5.4%. Doable, for sure, but two climbs at around 20 kilometres is not for the faint of heart. Especially because we still have three monsters ahead of us…
As of kilometre 140 kilometre the mountains are in control for good. Soon after entering Andorra Côte de la Comella might be short (4.2 kilometres), yet it is a nasty climb with an average grade at 8.2%, while the steepest kilometres are the first and the last: 9.5%. After a gentle and short drop and a false flat comes Col de Beixalis – a 6.4 kilometres climb at 8.5%.
The Beixalis kicks in hard with grades at over 10% for two kilometres. Four kilometres under the top it ‘flattens out’ to under 8%, while the last two kilometres are around 5%. The climb was in stage 11 of last year’s Vuelta also, with Mikel Landa soloing to victory and Fabio Aru taking the red jersey from Tom Dumoulin.
After the drop the route continues on upwards rolling roads to the foot of the last climb. You are going to have a hard time to rejoin once you are dropped. The climb to Arcalis is 10.1 kilometres at 7.2%. The steepest sections are a little over 8%, so steady is the word here, which may come as a relief to a lot of riders.
In 2009 Alberto Contador put time into his opponents at Arcalis. It was the first blow that ultimately led to his second Tour de France win.
The first three riders on the line take time bonuses at 10, 6 and 4 seconds.
Results/race report 9th stage, 2016 Tour de France.
Tour de France 2016 stage 9: Route maps, height profiles, etc.
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