Tour de France 2012 stage 9 preview

The battle for yellow begins

Distance: 41.5km

Highest point: 379m

Category: Time trial

If a time trial specialist does win this year’s Tour, it’s a fair bet that he will be among the top three or four finishers today. Initially announced as 38km, this stage is now another 3.5km longer. It’s a test of two halves, with the first 20 kilometres much more rolling than those near to the finish. However, there is not much here that will worry the stronger time trialists, such as Wiggins, Martin and Cancellara. They will power up the climbs and should gain three to four seconds a kilometre on Frank Schleck – some two and three minutes by the end. If it’s any less than that, the RadioShack man will be very happy.

Sean Yates: This could be decisive to the final GC. Bradley will be trying to win the stage and put as much time into his rivals as possible – every second counts. It’s an ideal length for him but not really as straightforward as the second time trial.

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Video: Tour de France 2012 stage 9 preview by Chris Boardman

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