No shake-up after the eighth stage of the 96th Tour de France. Lance Armstrong remains in third, eight seconds back. Rinaldo Nocentini of Italy retains the yellow jersey for a second day after battling back on the last climb. Armstrong’s teammate, Alberto Contador, remains in second, two seconds ahead of Armstrong and six off the lead. Spain’s Luis Leon Sanchez gets the stage victory.
Up next, the last stage in the Pyrenees and with apologies to the kids in the room, it’s a bitch! Climbs of the Tour de France are categorized from 1 to 4. And then there is the “hors categorie” or “above category”, a tag reserved for the most severe climbs on the tour. Only four stages of the 2009 tour are categorized as above category, and Sunday’s ninth stage is one of them.
The Col du Tourmalet, which sits a few horse jockeys short of 7,000 feet, is a brutal climb and one of the most famous climbs of the Tour de France. From Sainte-Marie-de-Campan, the riders will climb more than 4000 feet to the Col du Tourmalet, perched at 6,939 feet.