Stage 9 to Andorra Arcalis offered up the first true summit finish of the 2016 Tour de France, and as one might expect, there was plenty of action. But before the stage hunters and GC contenders could battle over the multiple categorised climbs leading to the final brute, two-time winner Alberto Contador got off his bike after the day's first major ascent and into the team car, abandoning his 2016 effort after two early crashes.
Contador's bad luck notwithstanding, it was Giant-Alpecin's Tom Dumoulin who stole the headlines by the end of the day, surviving from a breakaway that formed over the first climb to take the solo stage win. Dumoulin attacked his breakaway companions with 12km to go and then used his time trailing skills to hold off a concerted chase from Rafa Majka (Tinkoff) and Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida).
Further down the hill, the GC contenders put in a barrage of attacks. Ultimately, though, there was no notable change at the top of the general classification as Adam Yates (Orica-BikeExchange) led in a select group of Chris Froome (Team Sky), Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Richie Porte (BMC) and Dan Martin (Etixx-QuickStep).
Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), Louis Meintjes (Lampre-Merida) and local favourite Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha) were another 19 seconds down. BMC co-leader Tejay van Garderen was another 17 seconds in arrears, just ahead of Movistar’s Alejandro Valverde and Tinkoff’s Roman Kreuziger.