What's the stage like?
A monster. 187km long, and with a summit finish, it would be easy for the eye to be drawn to that final climb up the Blockhaus - 13.6km, with an average gradient of 8.4%, ramping up to 14% in places - and think that it told the story of the stage.
There is far more to this day, though. The day starts climbing from the off, there is barely a metre of flat road anywhere on route, and the last 50km includes a double ascent of the Blockhaus, albeit the first by an "easier" route. If that wasn't perverse enough, the quoted statistics of the final climb are only taken from its official start in Roccamorice, a town the peloton have to climb 10km beforehand to reach.
Who are the favourites?
Richard Carapaz (4.003/1) and Simon Yates (6.5011/2) have been the most impressive General Classification contenders in the Giro to date, and both have the heritage to win a stage like this. The challenge is knowing what their intent will be. The last week of the Giro is brutal, and it may well be wise to ride Stage 9 defensively, saving some energy for the travails to follow.
Yates, especially, will be attracted to this strategy, considering his spectacular capitulation on Stage 18 when leading the Giro in 2018. Carapaz, meanwhile, has seemed to be more aggressive in the first week, so is likely the better call.
Who are the most likely outsiders?
As is increasingly common these days, a breakaway may be allowed by the GC teams to go up the road and win the stage, but looking through the field, it's not obvious who would have the climbing ability to excel here, and is also sufficiently out of contention in the race for the Pink Jersey to be allowed the freedom to build up a big lead.
Mikel Landa (12.0011/1) certainly has the ability to win a stage like this, but his inconsistency means he rarely represents value.
A better bet, then, may be pre-race tip Romain Bardet (22.0021/1), who comes to the Giro in form and may choose to capitalise on that early in the race.
What effect will it have on the overall markets?
When the stage reaches the moonlike summit of Blockhaus for the second time, there will be significant time gaps among the contenders for the Pink Jersey, just like there has been when the Giro has visited this mountain in previous editions.
Expect the pretenders - Lopez, Kamna, Tarramae, Martin and Vansevenant - to all ship time to the more genuine hopefuls.
*Odds correct at the time of writing