Sunday, July 8, 2012

Tour Preview - Stage 9 (ITT)

We will end the first part of the Tour de France the same way we started it; against the clock! This is not a very hilly time trial but it’s not a flat one either. There are no categorized climbs on the menu but just before the first time check it’s uphill for about 1,5 km with over 10%. This means that the first split time can cheat us a bit since most of the strong time trialists aren’t that great at changing rhythm. After time check there’s a fast, technical descent before the second split time and then there's the long stretch home. Last part of the route is slightly downhill towards the line.

Unless this is the first bike race you are watching within the last 5 years you shouldn’t be surprised to see Fabian Cancellara and Bradley Wiggins as the two big favorites. It should have been a three-man fight for the win, but since the last week only has been about surviving for Tony Martin after his crash, I doubt that he will be ready to challenge Cancellara and Wiggins.

Bradley Wiggins says it’s a very technical course and I that means it should suit both him and Cancellara very well. Before the Tour started Cancellara said he wanted to ride only focusing on getting ready for the Olympic Time Trial 3½ weeks ahead.  Thing is that he won the prologue and has been working hard every since to honor the yellow jersey - even on the nasty finish in La Planche des Belles Filles. If Fabian Cancellara had been saving some energy the last week I would have put him down as my winner pick, but to be honest I think Bradley Wiggins is the better choice.

Wiggins knows that this is his first big chance to take a lot (!) of time on his main rivals for the overall victory and he showed in Dauphiné that he’s on the very top of his game right now. In Dauphiné he almost caught Cadel Evans, starting two minutes ahead of him, and even though I don’t think it will happen this time, I’m sure that Wiggins will take at least one minute on Evans in Besançon.

Another important rider when we talk the overall classification is Bradley Wiggin’s team mate Chris Froome. In the Vuelta España last year Froome actually beat Wiggins on the long time trial in Salamanca by 23 seconds (and Fabian Cancellara too by 28 seconds) so he sure knows how to ride a good time trial against the elite. Chris Froome has also been picked for the British Olympic team for the time trial (44 km) and this is a great way to show that he is ready for that too. I won’t go as far as saying that Froome will win this stage, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he takes the last spot on the podium after Wiggins and Cancellara.

Winner pick: Bradley Wiggins
Top3 pick: Chris Froome 


  1. How did wiggins and froome beat canchellara? Drug enhancments?

  2. great analysis of cycling. very impressed