Still 14km to go
The breakaway’s lead has grown even further – 8min 40sec – while the peloton looks a bit relaxed for now.
Lilian Calmejane (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty), a former Tour de France stage winner, fell down a few minutes ago after a fan’s flag hit his bike. Incidentally, Jasper Philipsen led the peloton over the intermediate sprint to add another point to his counter in the race for the green jersey.
Intermediate sprint results
Still 152.5 km to go
The breakaway, which works very well together, gradually rises towards the intermediate sprint. Wonderful conditions on the road today, a light breeze and 27 degrees.
Still 157 km to go
Everything calmly back in the peloton now, with the leading group of 14 men now with a two minute lead. Only two of these breakaway riders – Alexey Lutsenko and Matej Mohoric – have completed a Tour stage track record.
Still 160 km to go
Mattias Skjelmose (Lidl Trek) and Alberto Bettiol (EF Education-EasyPost) attacks from the front of the pack, but the Italian can’t lend a hand in the chase as his teammate Neilson Powless is in the breakaway. Eventually it all gets out of hand.
Still 167.5 km to go
As expected, it was quite a lively start to the stage. Mad Pedersen (Lidl-Trek) attacked at the front of the peloton and took three riders with him. Ineos Grenadiers seemed interested in getting involved in a number of moves, but so far nothing has been able to stick.
Still 173 km to go
That breakaway group appeared to take to the road unchallenged, with some teams fanning out across the narrow road to block any further riders dropping out. A few minutes later, however, Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), Lidl-Trek and Mathieu van der Poel tried to push through, but as it stands now, they failed to close the gap. Given the difficulty of the final climb, I suspect Van der Poel would struggle to impress too much on the Puy de Dôme, but he may be thinking today of his grandfather who he was very close to.
And they are finished. . .
Christian Prudhomme, race director of the Tour de France, dropped his flag and without hesitation Victor Campenaerts (Lotto-Dstny) slid off the front with a small group following the Belgian. Jonas Abrahamsen (Uno-X Pro), Clément Berthet (Ag2r-Citroën), Guillaume Boivin (Israel-Premier Tech), Mathieu Burgaudeau (TotalEnergies), David de la Cruz (Astana Qazaqstan), Jonas Gregaard (Uno-X Pro), Gorka Izagirre (Movistar), Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar), Pierre Latour (TotalEnergies), Alexey Lutsenko (Astana Qazaqstan), Matej Mohoric (Bahrain Victorious), Neilson Powless (EF Education-EasyPost) and Michael Woods (Israel-Premier Tech) all soon the switch to the former hour record holder.
Emotional pre-race moment for Van der Poel
Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) was recently greeted at the registration with an emotional tribute to his late grandfather Raymond Poulidor, born in the starting town of Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat. As mentioned before, Poulidor remains a rider synonymous with the Puy de Dôme.
Looks like we’re one horse shy. . .
Just heard from Lidl-Trek who have announced that Quinn Simmons, the US National Road Race Champion, will not start today’s stage.
In a brief statement, Lidl-Trek said: “Unfortunately we have to report that Quinn Simmons will not be at the start today. Since his bad crash on stage five, Quinn’s condition has not improved as we had hoped. He still feels stiffness and fatigue so we have decided to stop him to focus on his recovery.”
Phase nine example
Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the ninth stage of the Tour de France, the 182.4km run from Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat to Puy de Dôme. With four categorized climbs in the final stage before Monday’s rest day – the Côte de Felletin, Côte de Pontcharraud and Côte de Pontaumur, before finishing atop the out of category Puy de Dôme – the focus is expected to shift to the climbers.
The intermediate sprint at Lac de Vassivière comes very early in the stage, after just 30.4km, so I imagine there will be an early battle to get into a breakaway from those hoping to contribute their bills in the points classification, a competition currently dominated by Jasper Phillips (Alpecin-Deceuninck) who already won three stages and finished second Mad Pedersen (Lidl Trek) on Saturday. This is what can be gained by those who focus on the leotard vertthe green jersey worn by the leader in the points classification today:
Meanwhile, for those focusing on the tights a poisthe polka dot jersey worn by the rider leading the King of the Mountains classification – Nelson Powless (EF Education-EasyPost) – here is an overview of the available credits:
The mythical Puy de Dôme has not been included in the Tour de France since 1988, when Danish rider Johnny Weltz won the stage ahead of Germany’s Rolf Gölz and Pedro Delgado, the Spaniard who won the Tour that year. But they were events from the 1964 Tour when Raymond Poulidor (Mathieu van der Poel’s late grandfather) stood shoulder to shoulder with great rival Jacques Anquetil in one of the race’s most famous moments. Neither of them won the stage that day, that honor went to Spanish rider Julio Jiménez, but their duel that day that was captured on camera so brilliantly it reverberated through the years.
Given the great contemporary rivalry between race leader Jonas Fingergaard (Jumbo-Visma) and Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) – both favorites for today’s stage win – I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw an explosive final on the Puy de Dôme, which happens to be a dormant volcano.
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