rasmussen

As the tour leaves the flat stages behind and the roads start heading up, the racing really gets exciting. On a stage featuring four category 3 climbs, a category 2 and near the end a category 1, one man would shine, Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank). Former World Mountain Bike Champion, Rasmussen broke clean after just 3km and despite a strong attack by Jens Voigt (CSC) and Christophe Moreau (CA), held them of to take his first stage win in his second Tour de France.

Voigt came in 3 minutes later with Moreau, and a further 6 minutes back the pelaton came in with Stuart O’Grady taking the bunch sprint, even though there were non of the other big sprinters to duke it out with. Voigt’s lead over the pelaton and Lance Armstrong (Discovery) would gift him the Maillot Jaune. Armstrong still maintains a lead over his main rivals though; Alexandre Vinokourov (T-Mobile) 1.02 down, Ivan Basso (CSC) 1.26 and Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile) 1.36 adrift.

The Tour heads into the Alps tomorrow after a rest day today, and it’s expected that Voigt will hand the jersey back to Armstrong. We’re hoping that the contenders for the win don’t just get dragged along by the Discovery team but mount some audacious attacks. We’ll bring you a profile of the upcoming mountain stages later today.

Photos by Gerard Brown. More photos from Stage 9 in the gallery.

General classification after stage 9

1 Jens Voigt (Ger) Team CSC

2 Christophe Moreau (Fra) Credit Agricole

3 Lance Armstrong (USA) Discovery Channel

4 Michael Rasmussen (Den) Rabobank

5 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) T-Mobile Team

6 Bobby Julich (USA) Team CSC

7 Ivan Basso (Ita) Team CSC

8 Jan Ullrich (Ger) T-Mobile Team

9 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC

10 George Hincapie (USA) Discovery Channel

11 Andreas Klöden (Ger) T-Mobile Team

12 Floyd Landis (USA) Phonak Hearing Systems

13 Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne

14 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Discovery Channel

15 Santiago Botero (Col) Phonak Hearing Systems

16 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Gerolsteiner

17 Jose Azevedo (Por) Discovery Channel

18 Joseba Beloki (Spa) Liberty Seguros-Würth

19 Oscar Pereiro Sio (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems

20 Jose Enrique Gutierrez (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems

32.18.23 (46.22 km/h)

1.50

2.18

2.43

3.20

3.25

3.44

3.54

3.54

4.05

4.08

4.08

4.31

4.32

4.36

4.49

4.53

5.01

5.12

5.16