Following the first rest day in Morzine on Monday, the Tour de France peloton gathered in the Alpine mountain town for today's 204.5km ninth stage from Morzine-Avoriaz to Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne.
The riders looked happier and rested after a testing first week on the cobbles and early climbs of the race. But many were nervous because they faced a tough stage in the mountains with four major climbs.
Cadel Evans posed for a special photograph with his BMC teammates in his yellow jersey. Evans swapped his rainbow jersey for yellow and also had a matching BMC bike and helmet. Instead of the yellow shorts, Evans went for a classic look, matching his usual black shorts with the Tour de France leader's jersey.
Evans' left elbow was strapped in bright blue tape but he admitted that his injuries were not as bad as when he crashed in the 2008 Tour de France and eventually lost the yellow jersey.
Other overall contenders like Carlos Sastre (Cervelo TestTeam) looked nervous about the outcome of the stage. The sprinters, like Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-Farnese Vini) were also worried. They will have make sure they finish inside the time cut if they want to contest a likely sprint in Bourg les Valance on Thursday.
David Millar (Garmin-Transitions) was one of the happiest riders at the start. He has been ill for most of the first week but hardly got out of bed on Monday and seemed back on form. Lance Armstrong (RadioShack) also looked to have recovered from his crashes and joined Cadel Evans on the start line in Morzine.
A total of 181 riders started the stage, with Vladimir Karpets (Katusha), Simon Gerrans (Team Sky), Roger Kluge (Milram) and Fabio Felline (Footon-Servetto) the four non-starters. Felline was the youngest rider in this year's Tour de France at just 20 but has now headed home to Italy.
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