Tour de France 2014 stage nine description, map and profile: Sunday, July 13
When Sunday July 13
Category Medium mountains
Where are we?
The race leaves Gérardmer and weaves through the hills towards Mulhouse, the second largest town in the Alsace region after Strasbourg. The German influence on the town is obvious. Mulhouse was part of the German Empire after the Franco-Prussian War.
What’s on the route?
There are six testing climbs on the route, with the second-category Col de la Schlucht coming after just 11.5 kilometres. After that the riders cross two third-category hills, the Col du Wettstein (41km) and the Côte des Cinq Châteaux (70km). The Côte de Gueberschwihr, a second-category climb, is after 86km before the toughest climb of the Tour so far, the first-category Le Markstein. The final climb, the Grand Ballon, is after 127 kilometres, leaving 43 rolling kilometres to the finish.
What might happen?
This is another day that suits the puncheurs rather than the outright climbers and it will be a stage that will sap the strength of the team that’s defending the yellow jersey. With La Planche des Belles Filles on the horizon, the overall contenders will hope for a relatively straightforward day, but they may not get their wish.
If you’re there
Visit the Cité de l’Automobile, the world’s biggest car museum or the Cité du Train, which rivals the railway museum in York.
We’re deep in the Vosges now, characterised by the rolling terrain and beautiful wooded landscape.