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Looking back at the first nine stages of the Tour de France - Gallery

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A local spectator has a bird's-eye view of the stage 2 rollout

A local spectator has a bird's-eye view of the stage 2 rollout
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Stage 9 winner Tom Dumoulin solos to the finish in Andorre Arcalis

Stage 9 winner Tom Dumoulin solos to the finish in Andorre Arcalis
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The GC group contends with a torrential downpour during stage 9 at the Tour de France.

The GC group contends with a torrential downpour during stage 9 at the Tour de France.
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After crashing twice in the opening two days, Alberto Contador says so long to the 2016 Tour de France during stage 9.

After crashing twice in the opening two days, Alberto Contador says so long to the 2016 Tour de France during stage 9.
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Steve Cummings pulled off another master stroke with his solo stage 7 win

Steve Cummings pulled off another master stroke with his solo stage 7 win
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Stage 5 Best Young Rider Julian Alaphilippe enjoys the moment.

Stage 5 Best Young Rider Julian Alaphilippe enjoys the moment.
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Greg Van Avermaet's solo attack earned the stage 5 win.

Greg Van Avermaet's solo attack earned the stage 5 win.
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The peloton speeds along at the Tour de France.

The peloton speeds along at the Tour de France.
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waterborn fans have a unique vantage point at the Tour de France.

waterborn fans have a unique vantage point at the Tour de France.
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Mark Cavendish inspects Peter Sagan's bike before the start of stage 5.

Mark Cavendish inspects Peter Sagan's bike before the start of stage 5.
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Peter Sagan meets legendary racer Raymond Poulidor

Peter Sagan meets legendary racer Raymond Poulidor
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The UCI mechanical doping checks are a regular part of big races now

The UCI mechanical doping checks are a regular part of big races now
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Marcel Kittel and Bryan Coquard fight for the stage 4 win. Kittel got the final advantage by millimeters.

Marcel Kittel and Bryan Coquard fight for the stage 4 win. Kittel got the final advantage by millimeters.
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Riders pass the local architecture.

Riders pass the local architecture.
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Alberto Contador gathers a throng of media after stage 5.

Alberto Contador gathers a throng of media after stage 5.
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Didi the devil makes an appearance.

Didi the devil makes an appearance.
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The peloton passes a sunflower field in this classic Tour de France image

The peloton passes a sunflower field in this classic Tour de France image
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The stage 7 1km inflatable's failure caused big problems for the peloton.

The stage 7 1km inflatable's failure caused big problems for the peloton.
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It's a long way to the top if you want to win - or watch - the Tour de France.

It's a long way to the top if you want to win - or watch - the Tour de France.
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Chris Froome assumes his familiar spot at the Tour de France

Chris Froome assumes his familiar spot at the Tour de France
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The Pyrenees provided the playground for the Tour de France.

The Pyrenees provided the playground for the Tour de France.
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With his stage 6 win, Mark Cavendish passed Bernard Hinault on the all-time stage winners list with 29 Tour victories. Only Eddy Merckx, with 34, has more.

With his stage 6 win, Mark Cavendish passed Bernard Hinault on the all-time stage winners list with 29 Tour victories. Only Eddy Merckx, with 34, has more.
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Spectators seeks the high ground during stage 6 at the Tour de France.

Spectators seeks the high ground during stage 6 at the Tour de France.
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Nairo Quintana has been quietly focused so far.

Nairo Quintana has been quietly focused so far.
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The 2016 Tour de France peloton rolls through the French countryside

The 2016 Tour de France peloton rolls through the French countryside
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The breakaway streaks along during stage 2.

The breakaway streaks along during stage 2.
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A straw version of the Arc De Triomphe greets the breakaway.

A straw version of the Arc De Triomphe greets the breakaway.
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Fans go to great heights to see the race.

Fans go to great heights to see the race.
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Cavendish earned his first yellow jersey with the stage 1 win

Cavendish earned his first yellow jersey with the stage 1 win
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Mark Cavendish gets his 27th stage win on the opening day

Mark Cavendish gets his 27th stage win on the opening day
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Alberto Contador's first day didn't go as planned.

Alberto Contador's first day didn't go as planned.
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French fans await the peloton

French fans await the peloton
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A flyover sends the peloton off for stage 1 at Mont-St-Michel

A flyover sends the peloton off for stage 1 at Mont-St-Michel
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Peter Sagan outlasted Julian Alaphilippe for the stage 2 win

Peter Sagan outlasted Julian Alaphilippe for the stage 2 win
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Fans watch the peloton speed along the coast

Fans watch the peloton speed along the coast
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A front-row seat for this spectator.

A front-row seat for this spectator.
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Mark Cavendish wins stage 3, his 28th career Tour de France stage win

Mark Cavendish wins stage 3, his 28th career Tour de France stage win
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It wouldn't be a Tour de France without Thomas Voeckler in a breakaway

It wouldn't be a Tour de France without Thomas Voeckler in a breakaway
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The man in charge keeps an eye on the action.

The man in charge keeps an eye on the action.
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Fabian Cancellara gets aero in his final Tour de France

Fabian Cancellara gets aero in his final Tour de France
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The bravest man in cycling?

The bravest man in cycling?
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Staying comfortable is an important part of waiting for the Tour de France to pass.

Staying comfortable is an important part of waiting for the Tour de France to pass.
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Oleg Tinkov shows off one of Peter Sagan's yellow jerseys

Oleg Tinkov shows off one of Peter Sagan's yellow jerseys
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A vintage car display can't slow the Tour de France peloton

A vintage car display can't slow the Tour de France peloton
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Peter Sagan and Alberto Contador get things rolling at the D-Day themed team presentation

Peter Sagan and Alberto Contador get things rolling at the D-Day themed team presentation
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Cannondale-Drapac's Pierre Rolland finishes the stage with some extra red on his kit

Cannondale-Drapac's Pierre Rolland finishes the stage with some extra red on his kit (Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)

The first chapter of the 2016 Tour de France provided plenty of grist for watercooler conversations today, as the race heads into the first rest day with a familiar face at the head of affairs. Two-time and defending champion Chris Froome (Team Sky) seized the lead with a surprise attack over the final climb of stage 8 and descended into the yellow jersey in Luchon. It was a change of style for the often-times coolly calculating champion, who normally leaves his rivals behind when the roads are going uphill. 

On the way to the first rest day in Andorra, the race has seen seven different stage winners and four overall leaders, three of whom had never worn the maillot jaune previously. As expected, the Tour de France has already dealt out plenty of heartbreak to go along with the glory. Two-time champion Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) finally abandoned after two early crashes, and Katusha's Michael Morkov battled on through seven more stages after crashing on the opening day, eventually packing it in on stage 8.

Click or swipe through the gallery above for a brief look back at some of the action from the first nine days at the Tour de France.

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