Stage 9 of the 2012 Tour de France takes place on Monday. After 10 days of racing, a time trial will precede a rest day before the highly-anticipated Stage 10. The 10th stage will be the first day of intense and back-breaking climbing, which will feature the riders ascending a mountain that has never been part of the Tour before and defies classification.
Stage 9, by comparison, will be a lovely reprieve. The 41.5km route will stretch from Arc-et-Senans to Besancon and will pass numerous French landmarks. Still, the time trial will be crucial in setting the field for Stage 10 and what lies beyond. This stage could be considered the end of Act 1, with Act 2 about to begin in earnest.
Monday's stage will be televised on NBC Sports Network beginning at 5 a.m. PT.