Stage 9 of the 2017 Tour de France encompasses 181.5kms, running from Nantua to Chambery. While there is an intermediate sprint at 126.5kms in Massignieu-De-Rives, it will not interest the green jersey competition riders as the story of the day is certainly the climbs.
Today’s stage has 7 categorized climbs en route, including the Grand Colombier with sections containing gradients up to 22%! The final climb, the Mont du Chat, hasn’t been in the Tour since 1974 and is considered one of the toughest mountains in the Tour. All the climbs are:
- Km 3.5- Côte des Neyrolles 3.2kms at 7.2% - category 2
- Km 11.0- Col de Bérentin 4.1kms at 6.1% - category 3
- Km 38.0- Côte de Franclens 2.4kms at 6% - category 3
- Km 67.5- Col de la Biche (Croix de Famban) 10.5kms at 9% - category H
- Km 91.0- Grand Colombier 8.5kms at 9.9% - category H
- Km 134.0- Côte de Jongieux 3.9kms at 4.2% - category 4
- Km 155.5- Mont du Chat 8.7 kms at 10.3% - category H
Analyzing this, the race starts almost immediately with a climb that doesn’t have much of a descent before the next climb which also lacks a major descent. From here, it will be up and down all day! Thus, for many, this is being called the hardest stage of the 2017 Tour.
One thing is for sure—it will be a day for the climbers and tactics. It will be up to Sky and Froome to defend yellow, probably by setting a grueling tempo on the front. Who is going to try to attack?