2022 Tour de France Stage 9 Preview

Aigle > Châtel 192.7km

A stage that would normally be one for the breakaway. The reason for this is the position of the final climb, it crests with 10km to go, which normally puts teams off chasing the break down. However, this edition of the Tour has been well controlled by the peloton, maybe one of the GC teams will want a crack at the win.

Weather

Nice and sunny and it’s getting hotter.

Key Points

Col de la Croix is a tough climb, but the position of it in the stage means it will likely be ridden at tempo. The descent is fast, the GC riders will need to be careful about their position as we could see a few gaps.

Pas de Morgins is officially 15.4km at 6.1%. but the opening 12km averages 7.1%. The crest comes with 10km to go before a fast descent and then a gradual rise to the line.

Tactics

The opening 70km takes place into a headwind, it might only be around 10km/h, but it makes it hard for the break to establish. It’s another day where we have a flat start, bad news for the skinny climbers, especially with the headwind. In recent stages we’ve seen just how hard it is to make a Tour de France break, especially in the first week. Legs will be getting tired now, and with a rest day to follow, some will hope the break goes early, but will UAE chase? Are they really interested in holding onto yellow from now until Paris?

This is another chance for them to let the jersey go, but I’m not sure they want to. There’s a good chance a rider within 8 minutes gets in the break, we’ll then see what UAE want to do.

Climbers who miss the break will hope that UAE keep it on a short lead, that will allow them to use the Col de la Croix as a launchpad to attack. We’ve seen this type of move be successful in previous years, due to the flat start, climbers need to be creative about how to get up the road. On Friday, UAE only just managed to catch the break. They now are down to 7 men, if the break is strong, they will struggle to control.

Then we have the final climb, the overall figures make it sound straightforward, but the beginning of the climb is nearly 12km at 7.1%, it’s hard enough to create some gaps. Both Jumbo-Visma and Ineos have multiple options, this is the stage they need to use their numbers to put pressure on UAE and Pogačar. I would love to see Roglič attack early and put the cat among the pigeons. Will either team control the break? Given the nature of the stage, I would doubt it, but they’ll hopefully try something on the final climb.

Contenders

Stefan Küng – would love a win on home soil. In previous years I would have said he didn’t stand a chance of winning a stage like this, but this year we’ve seen him climbing better than ever before. He’s got the engine required to make the break on the flat, and the climbing ability to beat a lot of his rivals.

Lenny Kämna – so strong on Friday, it really was an incredible ride. His GC position could have been an issue, but he lost time today after doing a very impressive pull in the finale. When he makes a break he has a remarkable conversion rate, he really is an incredible stronger cyclist.

Patrick Konrad – Bora seem keen on going for the breaks and Konrad is another tremendous option for the team. He took a breakaway win last year; he knows what’s required to win a stage in this race.

Jakob Fuglsang – he’s lost time now so he can focus on stage wins, he’ll be trying to make the morning break.

Matteo Jorgenson – will he get any freedom? Hopefully Movistar set him loose as this is a good stage for the young American. This year he’s climbing very well, but it depends on which other climbers make the break.

Dylan Teuns – looked good on Friday, this is another stage where he’ll look to jump in the break.

Simon Geschke – see above.

Warren Barguil – sits 6:10 down on GC, just imagine if he gets in the break and takes yellow. France would go into meltdown.

Bob Jungels – AG2R are not enjoying this race, Jungels looks like their best hope for a stage like this. He’s 6:52 down on GC, which isn’t going to be a problem. He’s also got the engine and power required to make the break on the flat.

Michael Woods – tried to jump across to the break on Friday, but he was too late and couldn’t. Like all the climbers who want to be in the break, Woods must contend with the flat start. It really does make it very difficult for a rider like him to get away. He’s someone who could employ the late attack tactic, but that requires a team to chase the break and get the gap down to something he can bridge to. He arrived with great legs, and he’ll still have them, hopefully he can show everyone what he’s made of in this stage.

Thibaut Pinot – he was sniffing around the front of Friday, so I think this is a stage he’ll look to target. Form before the Tour was excellent, he’d love to take another Tour de France stage win.

Tadej Pogačar – two stage wins and he’s hungry for more. He knows that at some point he’s going to come under pressure from Jumbo-Visma and Ineos, they have the numbers to attack early and make him use energy covering moves. Saying that, he’s looking incredibly strong, and when he attacks not many can follow.

Primož Roglič – still in pain from his crash, but he continues to fight. I hope he attacks early on Pas de Morgins, the UAE domestiques will not be able to close him down. Either Pogačar will cover him, or they simply try to limit the damage. As he’s 2:49 down on GC, UAE don’t need to do anything crazy, as other teams might do their job for them.

Jonas Vingegaard – came so close to an incredible win on Friday, this is another chance for him. If Jumbo-Visma can pull off the old 1-2, Vingegaard has a great chance of taking his first Tour de France stage win.

Prediction Time

It looks like a classic breakaway stage, so I’ll take a win for Lenny Kämna. He’s got the horsepower to make the move on the flat, and the climbing ability to finish it off on the climb.

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