Tour de France Stage 9: A French Victory on the Gravel

The 200-km stage was packed with attacks, big moves from the GC contenders, and a brave breakaway featuring Frenchman Anthony Turgis, who took the win. 


BY MOLLY HURFORD |

Stage Winner: Anthony Turgis (TotalEnergies)
General Classification Leader: Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates)

Today’s 199-kilometre “gravel” stage had a blisteringly hot pace on the white roads with 14 gravel sectors. Modeled after Strade Bianche, this stage was set to give cyclocrossers like Mathieu van der Poel a technical advantage. With the first rest day of the 2024 Tour de France coming tomorrow, riders were willing to push the pace, attempt long breakaways, and generally end the day a bit more exhausted than usual, knowing they’d have recovery time on Monday. A breakaway of seven escaped early and maintained their gap to the finish line with a dramatic sprint finish where French rider Anthony Turgis (Total Energies) emerged victorious. In the peloton, top GC contenders Tadej Pogačar, Remco Evenepoel, and Jonas Vingegaard all played a tactical game to keep their positions in the GC safe.

“Stages like this are incredible. It was a big day.”

“It’s not any stage. It’s one of the key stages. Stages like this are incredible. It was a big day,” said Turgis. “… in the back of my head, I was staying, ‘stay calm, if it comes back together, I can win the sprint.’”

He added that he might double up on the victory champagne thanks to the rest day tomorrow.

How Stage 9 Unfolded

From the start, riders made small breakaway attempts, including EF Education-EasyPost’s Richard Carapaz, Neilson Powless, and Premier Tech’s Derek Gee. But none of the early breakaways made a dent in the peloton. As the riders headed towards the first gravel sector, gravel and off-road specialists, including Van der Poel and Tom Pidcock, moved towards the front of the peloton.

Riders on one of the gravel sections during stage 9 of the 2024 Tour de France.
Photo: ASO / Billy Ceusters

The first gravel sector saw Pidcock go on the attack with Ben Healy and Powless, and the race splintered into many small attacking groups. At 144.5 km, race leader Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) had stopped for a quick nature break, and one of the riders towards the back of the peloton wasn’t paying enough attention and awkwardly crashed into the yellow jersey, ending up off his bike in a cornfield. Pogačar was unbothered, though he was forced to chase back on, presumably losing a bit more time than expected, thanks to the minor incident.

The Tour de France Twitter feed put it best when they explained the standings around 135km as “they’re everywhere.”

The small groups slowly made their way back into a large peloton as the dust cleared after the first gravel segments, as a group of 10 maintained the breakaway. Jonas Vingegaard (Visma-Lease a Bike) was forced to do a bike change, swapping bikes with a teammate who then pulled off to wait for the team car. The saddle appeared to be slightly too low for him, but close enough that he was back racing fairly quickly—sans a teammate to protect him or help him back into the group. Thankfully, teammate Wout Van Aert quickly spotted him and moved in to work with him as UAE tried to accelerate the pace but couldn’t drop the Visma duo.

Riders during the 2024 Tour de France
Photo: A.S.O. / Charly Lopez

At 89 kilometres to go, Pogačar made a move to bridge up to the group of 10, including Pidcock and Gee 30 seconds ahead of him, but was covered by Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quickstep) and Chris LaPorte (Visma-Lease a Bike). Evenepoel made a huge attack with 76 kilometres to go, leaving Pogačar forced to chase without any teammates, and Vingegaard hopped onto his wheel as the three top GC contenders separated from the peloton. But they were swallowed up by a hard-charging peloton led by Primoz Roglic’s (Red Bull-BORA-hansgrohe) teammates.

At the front of the race, Gee led into a tricky gravel sector at 57km to go, and in the peloton, Evenepoel was slowed down and forced to fight back through the peloton as Pogačar sat comfortably near the front of the peloton through the dusty gravel. But Evenepoel was able to close the gap, once again bringing all of the race leaders together with the lead group of 10 only a minute up the road.

Of course, everyone was waiting for Van der Poel to finally go on the attack, which he did with just under 40km to go. Joined by six other riders, including two-time stage winner Biniam Girmay (Intermaché Wanty), he quickly managed to gain a minute on the peloton and started to reel in the lead group. But the breakaway containing Jasper Stuvyen (Lidl-Trek), Pidcock, Ben Healy (EF Education-EasyPost), Gee, Alexey Lutsenko (Astana Qazaqstan), Alex Aranburu (Astana Qazaqstan), Javier Romo (Movistar) and Anthony Turgis (Total Energies) held onto a minute lead as they hit the gravel once more.

Pogačar attacked again with 20 km and three gravel sectors to go, with Vingegaard and Matteo Jorgenson (Visma-Lease a Bike) closing the gap to the GC leader. The three began to close to Van der Poel’s group, blasting through the dusty gravel. But Evenepoel worked to close the gap again as they headed into the penultimate gravel sector.

In the lead group, attacks were coming fast and furious as the clock ticked down: Turgis attacked in the gravel, with Gee hot on his wheel. Turgis couldn’t make the attack stick, and when they hit the road, Lutsenko made his move and attacked as Stuvyen chased him down to close the gap. Gee was the next to attack, with Pidcock on his wheel. Stuvyen was the next to go, with Gee trying to chase him down with 11km to go.

Stuvyen’s attack worked: He grew his gap to 10 seconds with 2 km to go, but Gee wasn’t giving up in the chase behind. Healy attacked out of the chase group with Gee close behind. The two began to close the gap to Stuyven as Pidcock leaped across the gap, and Lutsenko joined the chase to close the gap to Stuyven with a kilometre to go, bringing the group of seven back together for the finale.

In a huge sprint finish, Lutsenko made the first move with Gee hot on his heels, opening up the sprint. But it was Turgis who took the win, thrilling French fans. Pidcock squeaked in for second place, with Gee rounding out the podium.

READ MORE ON: 2024 Tour de France Tour de France

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