Steve Bauer of Canada retained his lead in the Tour de France Monday, but the first of the mountain stages on a warm day bothered him.
"The heat was a problem," said Bauer, who holds a 17-second lead over Ronan Pensec of France after nine stages. "I did not expect such a hard stage. I hope it will be cooler up in the mountains.
"To keep the yellow jersey more than one week, it's probably the best of my career. But it's a stress. In the race you have to watch out for everybody."
Italy's Massimo Ghirotto won the ninth stage, a 122-mile stretch from Besancon to Geneva, breaking away with Spain's Eduardo Chozas in the first of the mountain passes. They were timed in 4 hours 46 minutes 7 seconds.
Bauer has held the top position in the overall standings since the first stage a week ago Sunday.
Defending champion Greg LeMond is sixth, 10:09 behind.