- Aug 31, 2014
Sunday, July 10th • Stage info • Startlist • Roadbook • Rules • Weather: Start, Halfway, Finish
Starts at 12:05 - Live video from 12:15 - Finish at 17:40 (CEST) • Live ticker • Livestreams
Mountain passes & hills:
Km 19.0 - Port de la Bonaigua (2 072 m)13.7 kilometre-long climb at 6.1% - category 1
Km 87.5 - Port del Cantò (1 721 m)19 kilometre-long climb at 5.4% - category 1
Km 143.0 - Côte de la Comella (1 347 m)4.2 kilometre-long climb at 8.2% - category 2
Km 157.0 - Col de Beixalis (1 796 m) (CS210-CS310)6.4 kilometre-long climb at 8.5% - category 1
Km 184.5 - ANDORRE ARCALIS (2 240m)10.1 kilometre-long climb at 7.2% - category H
Current GC standings:CyclingQuotes.com said:During the Armstrong years, ASO gradually made the visit to the first mountain range a bit easier. The American often crushed the opposition in the first mountain stage while Jan Ullrich slowly rode himself into form. To avoid too big time gaps early in the race and keep the excitement alive, the organizers tried to save the hardest stages for the final part of the race.
In recent years, that trend has changed. Last year the riders also visited the Pyrenees first and with two mountaintop finishes and a tough mountain stage in between, there was definitely nothing easy about the first mountain stages of last year’s race. This year there will also be no chance to ease the legs into the race. The riders have already spent two days in the high mountains but there will be no chance to rest yet. The Pyrenean adventure will end with the hardest stage in the triptych when the riders will return to the famous uphill finish at Andorra Arcalis that has been a regular feature in the race. With four tough climbs preceding a mountaintop finish at high 2240m of altitude, stage 9 is one of the hardest of the race and it will give another firm indication of the climbing hierarchy on the eve of the first rest day.
The 184.5km will start in the Spanish city of Vielha Val d’Aran and end in Andorra Arcalis and it has one of those starts that everybody fears. After just 5.3km of light climbing, the riders will hit the bottom of the category 1 Port de la Bonaigua (13.7km, 6.1%) which will make sure that things explode right from the start. The sprinters will be pleased to know that there will be a chance to rejoin the peloton during the 30km of flat valley roads that follow after the descent. Then it’s time for the category Port del Canto (19km, 5.4%) which has often been visited by the Volta a Catalunya, as the riders continue in a southwesterly direction.
After the descent, the riders will head in a northerly direction for the final 80km of the stage and they are almost all uphill. A long, gradual ascent will lead to the intermediate sprint in the capital of Andorra-la-Vielle. The sprint itself will be flat but it comes at the end of several kilometres of gradual climbing. Then it is straight onto the steep category 2 climb of Cote de la Comella (4.2km, 8.2%) which is a very regular climb. There will be almost no descent and just a short flat section before the riders get to the bottom of the category 1 Col de Beixalis (6.4km, 8.5%) which has a very steep first half and an easier final 2km.
The top comes with 27.5km to go and leads straight onto the descent. Then a short slightly uphill valley section will bring the riders to the bottom of the final category HC climb. It averages 7.2% over 10.1km and is a very regular ascent. The first part is the hardest but in general there is not much variation on a climb that will bring the riders up to more than 2000m of altitude. There are numerous hairpin bends in the penultimate kilometre before the riders get to the final kilometre which follows an almost straight 6.5m wide road. The final light bend comes with 250m to go.
Arcalis was last visited in 2009 when Brice Feillu emerged as the strongest from a breakaway while Rinaldo Nocentini rode himself into yellow. Alberto Contador attacked from the group of favourites and reached the finish alone to prove that he was the strongest rider in the race. In 1997 [ed.], Jan Ullrich laid the foundations for his overall win by riding to a dominant solo win.
The climb has often been used by the Vuelta too. In 2007, Denis Menchov won a sprint from a small group of favourites while Francisco Mancebo launched a late attack to win the stage in 2005. Jose Maria Jimenez won a mountain time trial in 2001 while Roberto Laiseka took the victory in 2000. Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano took a solo win in 1999.
The Volta a Catalunya has also visited the climb. Denis Menchov won a mountain TT here in 2007 and Carlos Castano took a solo win one year earlier. Inigo Cuesta won another time trial in 2005 like Miguel Angel Martin Perdiguero did in 2004.
Withdrawals Stage 8:
DNF: MØRKØV, Michael (Team Katusha) - Injuries sustained in crash on stage 1
197 of 198 riders remain in the race.
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