Stage 9 of the 2024 Tour de France was won by Anthony Turgis (Total Energies) in Troyes on Sunday after a highly challenging afternoon of racing over the ‘chemins blancs’. On a tough stage which included 32km of gravel roads, Turgis rode brilliantly with his breakaway companions, just winning a sprint to the line ahead of Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) and Derek Gee (Israel-Premier Tech).

It is a first win for TotalEnergies since 2017, with the previous victory for Jean-Rene Bernaudeau’s men dating back to 8th July of that year, when Lilian Calmejane won at Station des Rousses. The main GC favourites all finished together again, meaning that Yellow Jersey Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) is still in control overall, with no changes at the head of the general classification on the ninth day of the Tour.

Pogacar tried several attacks on Stage 9 but was followed by his rivals, so he goes into Monday’s rest day 33” ahead of Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step) and 1’15” in front of Jonas Vingegaard (Team Visma | Lease a Bike) in the GC rankings.

Five in the breakaway
173 riders took the start in Troyes at 1.15pm local time knowing that a tough challenge awaited them on a looping 199km route, which would take in 14 sectors of ‘white roads’ extending to 32km of gravel sectors in total, before concluding again in Troyes. After several early attacks Romain Gregoire (Groupama-FDJ), Neilson Powless (EF Education-EasyPost), Jarrad Drizners (Lotto-dstny), Derek Gee (Israel-Premier Tech) and French champion Paul Lapeira (Decathlon-Ag2r La Mondiale) formed a breakaway which had established a 25″ advantage at km 20.

Onto the gravel
That first breakaway was soon caught and a new leading group of ten riders formed before the first gravel sector of Bligny à Bergères (km 47.3 – 2km) was reached. Powless and Gee were in that group, along with Elmar Reinders (Jayco-AlUla), Jasper Stuvyen (Lidl-Trek), Gianni Vermeersch (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Maxim Van Gils (Lotto-dstny), Oier Lazkano, Javier Romo (Movistar Team), Alexey Lutsenko (Astana Qazaqstan) and Anthony Turgis (Total Energies). They built a 45” advantage over the peloton at the end of the first gravel sector.

The breakaway grows
After the Côte de Bergères (Cat 4, km 51,7) Axel Zingle (Cofidis) and Alex Aranburu (Movistar Team) joined the front group, before Powless dropped back to try and help his teammate Ben Healy, along with Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) to make it into the lead group. Powless’ work paid off as he brought Healy and Pidcock into the front group at km 66, just before the second gravel sector of Chemin de Baroville (1.2km). Primoz Roglic was dropped on the Baroville gravel sector by a group led by Visma-Lease a Bike, which also included Yellow Jersey Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) and Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step). Roglic exited gravel sector 13 behind by 30”, but a powerful response from the Slovenian from Red Bull-Bora-Hansgrohe brought around 30 riders back to the Pogacar group, which Visma-Lease a Bike continued to lead at the intermediate sprint marker at Fontette (IS, km 83.5). The breakaway had a 1’30” gap over the main group at Fontette, with Total Energies rider Turgis leading the escapees at the intermediate sprint.

Pogacar and Evenepoel marked by Vingegaard
Jonas Vingegaard (Visma-Lease a Bike) would experience a first moment of stress on the Hautes Forêts gravel sector (km 96.8 – 1.5km), when he suffered a mechanical problem that forced him to change bikes with his teammate Jan Tratnik to avoid being dropped from a group in which UAE Team Emirates set the pace. It would be at the exit of sector 11, Polisy to Celles-sur-Ource (km 105.2 – 3.4km) that Pogacar would launch an attack for the first time, with Evenepoel and Matteo Jorgenson (Visma-Lease a Bike) responding, to counter his move. At the top of the Côte de Chacenay (Cat. 4, km 121.2), in sector 10 from Loches-sur-Ource to Chacenay (km 118.6 – 4.2km), it was Evenepoel who became the attacker. He was joined by Pogacar – who collaborated – and Vingegaard who refused to do so. The three immediately hunted down the breakaway, which had lost Powless, Lazkano and Vermeersch. However, the three favourites would soon sit up, to be caught by a group in which Red Bull-Bora-Hansgrohe worked to prevent any further damage for Roglic.

The peloton breathes life into the breakaway
The activity of the top three overall allowed Pidcock, Stuvyen, Healy, Gee and Lutsenko to pull away past the rest of the breakaway and establish a new group at the front. However, Turgis, Romo and Aranburu managed to join up with them again at the head of the race on the arrival to Thieffrain à Magnant (km 140.8 – 3.9km). The complete calm in the peloton allowed the breakaway to gain traction and a group of seven riders counter attacked at km 156. They were Biniam Girmay (Intermarché-Wanty), Mathieu Van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck), David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ), Rui Costa (EF Education-EasyPost), Jakob Fuglsang (Israel-Premier Tech), Michael Matthews (Jayco-AlUla) and Rasmus Tiller (Uno-X).

Stuyven comes so close
As the race reached Ru de Paradis (km 165.7 – 1.2km), the leading eight had a gap of 1’05” over their seven pursuers and 2’10” over the peloton. On this sector, Pogacar would try another attack that was cancelled out by Visma thanks to Christophe Laporte and Matteo Jorgenson, who were excellent in supporting Vingegaard. The fight for GC gains would ultimately end in a stalemate. In the battle for the stage win the group of Girmay and Van der Poel were unable to join the leaders of the race and Stuyven attacked 11 km from the finish line to open up a gap of ten seconds. His fellow breakaway riders denied him victory by catching him inside the last km, with Turgis finally proving the strongest man at the finish. –

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