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Monday, July 13, 2009
Lance Armstrong - Stage 9 - Tarbes
Image: © 2009 theirEarth.com

Lance Armstrong Currently Third In Tour De France After Stage 9

TARBES, FRANCE - On Sunday, Stage 9 of the 2009 Tour de France was run and the race was from St Gaudens, France to Tarbes, France over a distance of 160.5 km (100.3 miles). The winner of stage 9 was Pierrick Fedrigo of the Bbox Bouygues Telecom team, who just beat out second place finisher Franco Pellizotti of the Liquigas team by less than a bike length at the finish line in Tarbes. theirEarth took this photo of Lance Armstrong in Monaco at the starting line during Stage 1, "Le Grand Départ" of the 2009 Tour de France.  

After the end of Stage 9, the overall Tour de France leader, wearing the yellow jersey, is Rinaldo Nocentini of Italy, who rides for the AG2R-La Mondiale team. Six seconds behind him in second place is Spain's Alberto Contador from the Astana cycling team, and America's Lance Armstrong, also with the Astana team, is a close eight seconds behind in third. So in general, the 2009 Tour De France is extremely close, and Armstrong, who does very well in the climbing stages, could possible take posession of the yellow jersey shortly, but not without a fight from his teammate Contador. 

Stage 9 had two significant climbing sections to deal with as it left St Gaudens, and went 41.5 km with a gradual climb in elevation from 380 m to 625m at Sarrancollin, France. From there it was a steep climb for the riders from 625 m to Col d'Aspin at 1490 m. The riders then negotiated a steep descent of about 650 m which transitioned sharply to a tough climb of 850 m over just 12 kilometres where they peaked the summit at Col du Tourmalet at 2115 m. From there, the riders had a 75 km journey down hill with some small ups and downs all the way to Tarbes, the 160.5 km mark finish line.  

Lance Armstrong said from his own experience that the race only gets harder from this point onward and that what is important is that the teams keep their strategy together. Both he and his Astana teammate, Contador, are in competition with each other and are both favourites to take the overall win when the Tour's 21st and last stage is completed at the Champs Elysées in Paris.

For the next two stages, 10 and 11, the teams are banned from using their radios because of Tour rules, and a large majority of the teams had filed petitions against this rule by Sunday. Lance Armstrong's opinion was that the radios should be allowed and it was silly to not allow them. Tomorrow, on Tuesday, Stage 10 starts from Limoges, France and finishes 194.5 km's later at Issoudun, France. The course is full of numerous ups and downs but only very small differences in elevation, so the riders who can carry the speed over the flats with endurance will be the ones who do well.

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