The last part of the Col de Marie Blanque is likely to be of crucial importance. These 4 kilometres climb at almost 12% to the top and after a short section on a plateau the riders plunge down the flanks and into the valley. The last 8 kilometres run false flat uphill to the stage finish in Laruns.
One could argue that this route is tailor-made for the Julian Alaphilippe of last year. The puncher ate the steepest ramps of the Marie Blanque for breakfast, although the 4 kilometres at almost 12% are not isolated – they are preceded by 3.7 kilometres at 5.7%. His form is not as spectacular, but when he is in the mix in the breakaway he could make a difference on this sector before showcasing his downhill skills.
Otherwise, the route is not too demanding, especially when you consider that these are the Pyrenees. Halfway through the race the riders crest the combo Col de La Hourcère and Col de Soudet. The first is 11.1 kilometres long and slopes at 8.8% and following a short descent the route continues to climb for 3.8 kilometres at 8.5% on the Soudet. Apart from these inclination, the riders are mainly treated to undulating roads on the Tour de France’s ninth day of action.
Not for the first time this Tour the legitimate question springs to mind: breakaway men of GC riders?
Favourites 9th stage 2020 Tour de France
*** Davide Formolo, Julian Alaphilippe, Alexey Lutsenko
** Marc Hirschi, Nicolas Roche, Jesús Herrada, Rudy Molard
* Primoz Roglic, Tadej Pogacar, Nairo Quintana, Adam Yates
Take a look at the route of the 9th stage on the Tour de France.