Sunday, 10 July 2011
#TDF Stage 9 More little mountains
The Sprint today comes at Neuvéglise 30km from the end, but significantly after the roller coaster of the steepest gradients of the stage. While the pure sprinters like Mark Cavendish managed to secure a few points on yesterday's sprint behind the 9 man breakaway, today they will not be able to compete for any. It will the favourites, climber and puncheurs of the tour who will fill all 15 places.
As for the stage win today, after he defended the Maillot Jaune over a slightly easier stage yesterday, I would expect to see Thor Hushovd maybe making a bid to win a stage while in yellow, this is probably his best chance to do so. But with the green back on his shoulders Philippe Gilbert has got to be another contender. Although Edvald Boassen Hagen managed to be only 11 seconds down on the main field yesterday and the finish is less steep and more like the one he did win on two days ago.
Tomorrow is a rest day then there will be three 'gentle' days before we hit the Pyrenées. So the riders know that tomorrow they can recover, so a few may well make a move today in the hope of staying away. Rui Costa did that yesterday the first man from and breakaway to stay ahead of the main field from the start to the finish. Admittedly it was only by 12 seconds in the end, but still it was a break that led to a stage win and if it hadn't been for Tejay van Garderen launching the attacks that led to Costa getting away the combative red number.