Tour de France preview: Stage 9

Stage 9: Arc-et-Senans to Besancon, 41.5km individual time trial

The first of the all-important individual time trials is the challenge facing the riders today. The first 20km or so have some rolling climbs, before flattening out to the finish, but nothing too technical for anyone.

All the main GC contenders will want to leave it all out on the course. The TT specialists, like Bradley Wiggins, Cadel Evans and Denis Menchov, will want to put the climbers on the back foot. The climbers, like Frank Schleck, Jurgen van den Broeck and Pierre Rolland, will want to limit the damage.

The battle for the stage win itself will demand sheer power and grit and will most likely be contested by time triallers extraordinaire Tony Martin and Fabian Cancellara, in anticipation of their London 2012 showdown. Neither overly exerted themselves on yesterday’s seven-climb stage, both coming in 12 minutes behind the leaders and holding back a little bit of energy for today. But watch out also for Saturday’s winner Chris Froome, who could set himself up for a potential podium finish if he can repeat his performance at last year’s Vuelta time trial, where he placed second behind world champion-to-be Martin.

Cycling the Alps’ interactive videos of the route can be found here.

Link: Official website

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