Yesterdays Stage 8 did not quite go to plan as the breakaway did eventually stay away, in the form of Thomas De Gendt but it was a small select group who got away initially curtailing the chances of our selections getting involved.
Notably Direct Energie sent Niki Terpstra in search of a stage win rather than Lilian Calmejane meaning the Frenchman kept his powder dry in the peloton. However on Bastille Day we expect fireworks from Calmejane on Stage 9.
Another tough undulating profile awaits with considerable climbing and then a rapid downhill finale.
With a category 1 climb early on in the stage an early breakaway will have a chance to carve out a considerable advantage as the GC contenders will be content to mark each other until later in the stage.
Calmejane has won identikit stage profiles before in the Vuelta a Espana. He also boasts a win in the Mountain Classification in the Paris -Nice race and has all the attributes you look for with his aggressive riding. With his team effectively chasing stage wins and Bastille Day on Sunday it is primed for the Frenchman to go in the search of glory.
The stage favourite is the irrepressible Peter Sagan but his team have worked so hard to get him involved in numerous stages to date and the downhill finish making it wide open we do not expect them to work overly hard to set anything up.
Yellow Jersey holder Julian Alaphillipe worked tirelessly yesterday to reclaim the jersey so will keep a close eye on the make up of the break as he will want to retain it on the French National holiday. With a bit of luck we get people well down in the GC leaving Calmejane in with a chance of glory.
Lilian Calmejane to win stage 9, 0.5pt each way, 66/1 (SkyBet)
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