And welcome to our live rolling blog from stage nine of the 109th edition of the Tour de France, the 192.9-kilometre run from Aigle to Châtel Les Portes du Soleil.
The race finally heads in to the Alps this afternoon, but before we have a look to see what’s up for grabs let’s see what my colleague Tom Cary had to say about yesterday’s stage.
The stage itself was notable for a big early crash which brought down many of the race favourites, including Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) and Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers). Both were able to remount their bikes. Kevin Vermaerke of DSM and Astana Qazaqstan’s Gianni Moscon were not so fortunate.
There was also a bizarre moment later in the stage when Groupama-FDJ’s Thibaut Pinot crashed on the descent of the Col de Pétra Félix got up only to be smacked in the face by the arm of a Trek-Segafredo team helper passing drinks to his team’s riders from the roadside.
After Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious) was reeled in Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) won the sprint for the line from Michael Matthews (BikeExchange), with Pogacar third, claiming another four bonus seconds to stretch his lead in the general classification to 39 seconds over Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma).
Tom Pidcock led the Ineos Grenadiers contingent over the line in 10th, with Thomas just behind in 11th and Yates in 18th place, with all three retaining their positions in the top 10 of the general classification.
Van Aert added 61 points to his tally in the race for the green jersey to tighten his vice-like grip on that particular garment, leading Fabio Jakobsen (Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl) by 115 points – the equivalent of more than two stage wins.
Magnus Cort (EF Education-EasyPost) managed to keep top spot in the mountains thanks to Pogacar finishing no higher than third yesterday and will wear polka dots for a seventh successive day.
Pogacar also leads the young rider classification, but his white jersey will be worn by Britain’s Pidcock. Must say, I think somebody’s suggestion – I believe it was a viewer who contacted Daniel Lloyd of GCN+ fame (and a former Cervelo Test Team rider) – that a rider can only win the competition once was not a bad idea.
So, what’s on today’s menu?
And finally, the weather . . .
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