Thursday, January 20, 2022
HomeRaceRace ReviewsLe Tour de France 2016 - Stage 9; Vielha Val d'Aran -...

Le Tour de France 2016 – Stage 9; Vielha Val d’Aran – Andorre Arcalis. Dumoulin Solos to Victory

-

Mont-Saint-MichelTom Dumoulin tests to solo glory in Andorra; Pinot goes poids; Froome consolidates jaune; Porte confuses; Martin rises to another level; Yates confirms; Aru and Tejay slide whilst Quintana waits – but it’s over for Alberto.

But all that said – no real changes from yesterday and the Bigs only race the last few kilometres…

The road rises straight from the off today with the first cat. climb Port de Bonaigua, 13.7km, average gradient of 6.1% – and the action started right away with it; the ‘riders all over the hill’ of cliché.

Contador (Tinkoff) grabbed some daylight but came back whilst Rolland’s (Cannondale) hopes are wavering; dropped early along with Cav – who’s in for a long day in the montagnes.

Dumoulin
Tom Dumoulin takes a mountain stage victory. Photo©ASO/A.Broadway

At the top we get a ‘snapshot’ of how it stands – Pinot (F des J) takes the points from De Gendt (Lotto) and the man in poids, Majka (Tinkoff).

The Frenchman now ‘virtually’ wears that maillot but with a long way still to go that can and will change.

Behind we have Valverde (Movistar) and Sagan (Tinkoff) as the biggest names in the group to which Pinot, De Gendt and Majka return – riders from IAM, Astana and Lampre are all in there, too.

The group is one minute plus – and stretching – clear of the Sky driven peloton – with Rowe on point; this is a long, long descent to the foot of the Port del Canto.

The full composition of the escape is: Alejandro Valverde, Winner Anacona, Jesus Herrada (Movistar), Diego Rosa, Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana), Rafal Majka, Peter Sagan (Tinkoff), Alexis Vuillermoz (AG2R-LaMondiale), George Bennett (Lotto-Jumbo), Mathias Frank, Stef Clement, Jérôme Coppel (IAM), Natnael Berhane (Dimension Data), Tom Dumoulin (Giant), Thibaut Pinot (FDJ), Rui Costa, Tsgabu Grmay (Lampre-Merida), Thomas De Gendt, Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Soudal), Dani Navarro, Nicolas Edet (Cofidis).

There are a lot of men in there who could win the stage – Ancona, Costa, Gallopin, LL Sanchez to name but four.

But it’s a big group, hard to forge cooperation and Sky are dragging them back – we may well see a splinter group go from this group.

And Valverde’s presence is a problem, Sky won’t let it go – the Spaniard sits up and drifts back – the break has it’s freedom and the gap grows at once.

Dumoulin
Cofidis at the head of affairs, with IAM in attendance. Photo©ASO/A.Broadway

At the top of the second climb, the 19km long average gradient of 5.4% Port del Canto it’s Thomas De Gendt, 10 pts from Thibaut Pinot, 8 pts, Rafal Majka, 6 pts, Diego Rosa, 4 pts, Stef Clement, 2 pts and Alexis Vuillermoz, 1 pt with their lead now over eight minutes – it looks like the winner will come from the break who are riding smoothly.

Pinot has built on his lead in the K of M but we still have three summits to breast.

Alberto Contador is out, two crashes and now a fever – very sad and a great loss to the race.

No more to say.

We have 54 K to go now and we’ll re-cap on who’s up ahead with nine minutes in hand: Winner Anacona, Jesus Herrada (Movistar), Diego Rosa, Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana), Rafal Majka, Peter Sagan (Tinkoff), Alexis Vuillermoz (AG2R-LaMondiale), George Bennett (Lotto-Jumbo), Mathias Frank, Stef Clement, Jérôme Coppel (IAM), Natnael Berhane (Dimension Data), Tom Dumoulin (Giant), Thibaut Pinot (FDJ), Rui Costa, Tsgabu Grmay (Lampre-Merida), Thomas De Gendt, Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Soudal), Dani Navarro, Nicolas Edet (Cofidis).

Dumoulin
Peter Sagan rode hard to stay with the group as long as possible. Photo©ASO/A.Broadway

Sagan nabs the sprint points at Andorra-la-Vella – no one is daft enough to contest.

We’re on the Cote de la Comella now, second cat. and too tough for Sagan – but ‘job done’ for the World Champion who slides backwards.

Richmond Worlds TT medallist, Jerome Coppel goes on the offensive from the break, former Ethiopian Champion, Grmay joins him.

Many kilometres behind, Sky and BMC ride on the front of the peloton – Kiryienka sits, stony faced and churns out the tempo.

Coppel and Grmay approach the summit but pesky Belgian De Gendt zooms up to bag the K of M points then clears off solo.

Dumoulin
Tsgabu Gebremaryam Grmay and Jerome Coppel. Photo©ASO/A.Broadway

De Gendt is on the descent of the Co