When Sunday, July 10
From Vielha Val d’Aran
To Andorre Arcalis
Category High mountains
Impact on GC 5/5
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Today is a journey between two countries and neither of them are France. It starts at the foot of the first climb, which has a very tricky descent. Then the route heads south, further into Spain.
The second climb starts in Sort, then there’s another long, tortuous descent, and a bit of valley road, which leads to the wonderfully named Seo de Urgel. The riders turn north here and head for Andorra La Vella, the principality’s capital, where a really complicated section starts.
Narrow roads, frequent direction changes, and a couple of crazy climbs and descents, lead to Ordino and the final climb.
This is a really inspired route. Up to Andorra there are a few bits that might catch riders out, but the favourites should be able to depend on their teams to keep them out of trouble. It’s the bit between Andorra city and Ordino where things might go awry. Any contender left with no team-mates on the final climb could be at a real disadvantage.
Chris Froome (Team Sky) head into stage nine’s summit finish with a slender 16 second lead over compatriot Adam Yates (Orica-BikeExchange) and 23 seconds over key rival Nairo Quintana (Movistar) down in sixth place after his victory on stage eight.
With a tightly packed top-10, there will be a number of riders looking to make gains on Froome with the Brit having put a significant amount of energy into his stage eight glory.