Tour de France Stage 9 Betting Overview

Ian O'Sullivan

Sunday, July 10, 2016 5:46 PM UTC

Sunday, Jul. 10, 2016 5:46 PM UTC

A day that takes part completely on foreign soil in two different countries and tackles two climbs over 2,000m, it's yet another crucial stage in the TDF 2016. the first 130kms are raced in Spain, the last 54kms in the Principality of Andorra.

Vielha Val d'Aran - Andorre Arcalis - Sunday 10th July, 184.5kms 
A day that takes part completely on foreign soil in two different countries and tackles two climbs over 2,000m, it's yet another crucial stage in the TDF 2016. the first 130kms are raced in Spain, the last 54kms in the Principality of Andorra.

The five climbs of the day are scattered between the Spanish and Andorran territories. In the final 50kms they'll have to cope with the explosive climb to the Col de la Comella, then the rather irregular one to Beixalis that left rather bad memories for Christopher Froome on the last Vuelta, and finally the long climb to Arcalis. 

It was on the descent off the Beixalis that Froome crashed in the opening kilometres of stage 11, hitting a barrier and a stone wall, injuring his foot. Although he continued on the stage he was clearly suffering and lost a lot of time. He could barely walk to the hospital and didn't start the next day. 

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The Route
The stage starts in Spain at Vielha Val d'Aran and they head south-east in a u-shaped loop before entering Andorra and finishing within sight of the French border. The stage starts with a steep climb right from the flag-drop, with the ascent of the Cat 1 climb of the Port de la Bonaiqua. The road rises for the first 19kms of the stage, although the categorised climb is 'just' 13.7kms long at 6.1%. We could already see more than half the peloton in a grupetto by the time they have done just 19kms. 

They cross in to Andorra after 128kms and through the intermediate sprint at Andorre la Vieille with 46kms to go. The sprint is at the foot of the third climb of the day with the Cat 2 Cote de la Comella, which is only 4.2kms long, but averages a tough 8.2%, with the first and last kilometre averaging 9.5%. 

A short descent and straight on to the penultimate climb, the Cat 1 Col de Beixalis, a twisting, testing Cat 1 climb of 6.4kms at 8.5%, the steepest climb of the day, with sections at up to 11.6%. One last descent, a little bump at Ordino and they start the HC climb to the finish. The climb to Andorre Arcalis is 10kms long at an average of 7.1%, climbing to the heady heights of 2,240m. It does ease slightly to 5.7% in the last kilometre, but it's likely that a solo rider will take the victory, but we could also see a clash between the top GC men.  


Contenders and Favourites
Sky will probably control the race for much of the day, with Froome in yellow now they will look to defend the lead, but at the same time, they probably woudn't mind someone else taking over the jersey. With all the media duties on a rest day in the TDF for the race leader, it would be a weight off their shoulders, as would it be a weight off the team to be having to control the race on the flat stages to come.

There really is only two teams I think that are going to be able to control the race, Astana look weak and BMC will be lucky to have Caruso and Moinard hanging on with Porte and Van Garderen. So then we are left to try to figure out who is going to win this stage based on who is likely to control the stage and set up the final attacks. 

Chris Froome looked good today, but that downhill attack, what was that all about?! I was thinking at the time he was burning matches unnecessarily and that he'd be caught, but he held on, comfortably. It didn't tell us a whole lot about his condition for attacking on the uphill slopes though, he did put in an acceleration at the top of the Peyresourde, but Quintana and the rest were easily able to stay with him, it was his sneak attack after the top that caught them out. 

He always goes well on the first uphill stage and he likes to stamp his authority and take the lead early in the race. He already has it, and with the effort he put in today, maybe he might not quite be at his absolute best? Henao was superb today and a tough finish like this one could see Henao hammer it until maybe 5kms to go, where Froome might try one of his trademark attacks. Or he may even try attacking on the steeper first 3kms which average 8%, knowing that if he gets a gap he may be able to hold them at bay. If he comes to the line with a handful of riders though, he could be beaten by others, the final kilometre is only 4.4% average. 

The big question will be whether a) Nairo Quintana goes on the offensive to try to make up for today, or b) if Froome does attack whether Nairo can stay with him. Looking at a) first, I think he will attack - he will be fuming after today's mistake, and not only that but I think his DS Unzue will be furious that they let that happen after cresting the top on Froome's wheel.  If Froome wins tomorrow and Quintana loses some time, Froome could go in to week two with a lead of over a minute. He can't afford to let that happen. 

If he has to follow Froome's attack, I think that he will be a lot closer than he has been in recent years. He has been climbing really well all year and has looked very calm and comfortable all week. When Froome went today, he was straight on his wheel with Dan Martin. I am not sure Froome will be able to shake him off tomorrow, but whether he can counter him and attack away in the closing kilometres is another matter. 

Who else can challenge them? Dan Martin was very impressive today, as he has been all week and in fact all through the Dauphiné. He should have won today, had Froome not skipped away. He has moved to Andorra and so will be on home roads here, he should know the final climb pretty well as he'll have done plenty of training rides over them in the last six months. I think he could be a big danger to them tomorrow as the finish will suit him, he just needs to be there in the last few kilometres to have a chance.

There is +1400 with bet365 paying four places, and that might be worth taking again, even if he can't stay with the top two he shouldn't be far behind. 

Richie Porte looks to be the clear team leader now at BMC, Van Garderen was working for him today and on a finish like this he could go well. He is looking very strong and calm, but has time to make up now after his puncture. It may be that he attacks and Froome and Quintana wait for the other to go, fearing a counter from Tejay, and he might slip away. Or it's likely that if there is just a handful of riders come to the finish, Porte should be one of the first 5 home. +2000 betting odds with Paddy Power paying 4 places looks ok. 

Romain Bardet will be close enough too, but I can't see him being let slip away, he never seems to be given any freedom.  Valverde looks to be taking his Quintana minding duties very seriously. Joaquim Rodriguez took another top 4 placing today, following on from his 4th at the Lioran, he is in good shape it seems too - but can he stay with Froome and Quintana when the hammer goes down? Maybe not.. he has struggled in recent years in those sorts of situations. But if he can hang in there, he would be a danger at the finish with his finishing kick. 

We'll find out tomorrow what the likes of Louis Meintjes, Adam Yates, Fabio Aru and Bauke Mollema are really made of, they were comfortable enough today, but when Froome accelerated, they were left behind when the gap formed with Martin and Henao up ahead with Froome and Quintana. If that gap stretches tomorrow again, they may not get back on again. 

It's hard to make a case for any others, the break has a slim chance I think, and Sky will look to set a fast pace to thin things out, and Movistar should push it hard on the Arcalis. I think it's hard to call between Froome and Quintana of course, Froome looks too short to me around +200, Quintana looks a little bit like a bet to nothing at +400, he should be in the first 3 if they go full gas, and on a good day he could well take the stage and start to fight back. Dan Martin and Richie Porte could be the bets though at ok prices for our betting picks.  

Recommendations: 1pt each-way on Dan Martin at +1400 at Bet365 paying four places & 0.5pts each-way on Richie Porte at +2000 at PaddyPower paying four places. 
Matchbets: Romain Bardet to beat Tejay Van Garderen - 2pts at 8/11 with Bet365 & Meintjes to beat Yates - 2pts at 5/6

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