BICYCLING magazine Stage to Watch
The drama ramps up right from the Tour’s second day with the much-anticipated return (after a one-year hiatus) of the team time trial. This format doesn’t offer GC (general classification) riders on powerful teams an overwhelming advantage, but it will provide the first significant hierarchy early in the race. The Schleck brothers should fare well. Not as strong as individual rouleurs, they will happily benefit from the presence of Leopard-Trek teammates like Fabian Cancellara—a formidable TT specialist—in the Tour’s first race against the clock.
JEAN-FRANÇOIS PESCHEUX’S ANALYSIS: Team power
“This team time trial is short and totally flat. We don’t want to end up with big time gaps but at the same time we do want some of the favourites to lose time. But on a course like this the gaps won’t, in theory, be too big. Each team’s time will be taken when their fifth rider crosses the line. This test is all about getting the balance right. Every team has riders who feel more at home in this kind of test and they will have to rein themselves in slightly because the objective is to finish as a group. Some of the Anglo-Saxon teams make a point of focusing on the team time trial as these tests underline the homogeneity and intrinsic value of the group as a whole.”
Note: Stage route, exact start/finish, and sprints/climbs have been approximated from information provided by LeTour.com. Actual stage may vary slightly.
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