Bang! Right from the start of stage nine, the Tour peloton will ascend from the exclusive ski resort of Val d'Isère. The riders will head up the windy, wide-open slopes of the Col de l'Iseran (15km @ 6%) to the 2770-metre high summit, one of the highest in Europe.
Coming as it does on the day after the rest day in Tignes, the climb will be doubly-hard and once over the top, it's a long, fast downhill run down the Maurienne valley to St.Michel-de-Maurienne. There the long, legendary double ascent of the Télégraphe (12.0 km climb @ 6.7 % grade / 1st Cat) and Galibier (17.5 km @ 6.9 %) begins and it will certainly make a crucial selection, especially on the steep final 10 kilometres of the Galibier.
Then it's a long, fast descent past the monument to Tour founder Henri Desgranges with 37 kilometres to go to the finish in Europe's highest city of Briançon and a steep, difficult stage finish in the Fort de Salettes.
Km 15: Col de l'Iseran: 15.0 km climb @ 6 % grade / hors catégorie
Km 99: Col du Telegraphe: 12.0 km climb @ 6.7 % grade / 1st Cat.
Km 122: Col du Galibier: 17.5 km climb @ 6.9 % grade / hors catégorie
Km 33.5: Le Villaron (Bessans)
Km 60: Bramans