No recap to mess around with today, straight into the action it is.
Once down the start ramp the riders will face 9.7km of rolling, twisting roads through the old heart of Jerusalem.
The course is of a similar length to what the riders faced back in 2016 when the race started in Apeldoorn, but the parcours here is certainly more rolling.
Furthermore, the course is fairly technical. There are some long straights and sweeping turns where the riders can put the power down but conversely, there are plenty of sharp corners that they will have to accelerate back up to speed again from. It’s not just a pure power effort, good bike handling and technique is essential.
You can watch the video above to get an idea of the nature of the course. I would recommend 0.5x speed for a better look at it!
Also, as is always tradition I have made a Strava/Veloviewer profile of the TT that you can view here.
The road rises from the gun with roughly 500m at 4% before the road dips down. A 1.7km climb at 3.7% awaits, and it might seem like a drag for on their TT rigs but I imagine most will stay in their aero tuck and grind their way up it.
A few more ramps of 400m at 5% come later on in the circuit before the road kicks up towards the line. We’ll no doubt see the riders abandon any seated position here as they sprint out of the saddle, trying to save every millisecond.
A One-Horse Race?
Rohan Dennis starts as odds on favourite with the bookmakers and given his incredible record in short TTs (not prologues) it is understandable as to why. So far this season he has taken home his national title along with the pan-flat efforts in Abu Dhabi and Tirreno. Last week in Romandie he finished 4th in a prologue that didn’t really suit him before following that up with an impressive showing in the mountain TT. The rolling course and its length looks ideal for him but the technical nature might be his undoing. Don’t get me wrong, Dennis is a great bike rider but I think it will be hard for him to constantly get back up to speed through some of the tighter turns and the changes of rhythm that the hills bring. Nonetheless, it is still hard to see past him for the win but I just don’t think he will have it as easy as some might think.
A rolling TT like this should be bread and butter for the current World Champion but given his lack of racing it is hard to tell exactly where he is at in terms of form. Interestingly, the average length of Dumoulin’s 14 TT wins throughout his career is 24.8km so he does seem to perform better over longer distances. However, he has won his fair share of shorter stages, including the aforementioned TT opener in Apeldoorn. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him win it, but I also wouldn’t be surprised to see him a little off the pace and finish 5-8 seconds down on whoever wins it.
Jos Van Emden.
He’s always Dumoulin’s rival when it comes to the Dutch national TT but unlike his compatriot, Van Emden certainly prefers the course to be shorter. An incredibly consistent rider against the clock on anything under 12km, I’m amazed to see he has only won three time trials in the past three years with no win so far this season. In fact, his last TT victory was at this race on the final day in 2017, an almost 30km long effort which completely contradicts what I’ve said above! There just always seems to be something that goes wrong for him, whether that be bad weather or he just happens to take a wrong turn. I don’t think the rolling course is ideal for him either but you never know. One thing he does have to his advantage is that he has prepared specifically for this effort over the past month or so.
The European Champion moved teams in the Winter from a good TT bike to a slightly worse one and his results haven’t been great as a result. A 2nd place to Thomas in Algarve was a solid effort but since then he failed to impress in Tirreno. However, a 5th place in a prologue that didn’t suit him too well in Romandie recently highlights that he is going in the right direction. He’s so keen to get some race practice on his TT bike that he was the only madman to ride his aero rig on the mountain TT!
Team Sky TT Dominance
We’ve seen in the past few years Sky go well in TTs but since the Tour last year they have really upped their game. On the opening TT in Düsseldorf they managed to place 4 guys in the top 8, with Thomas taking the win. Later in that race Kwiatkowski and Froome finished 2nd and 3rd respectively.
This year they have had: 4 of the first 11 in Andalucia with De La Cruz winning; 4 in the first 10 in Algarve with Thomas winning; 6 in the first 13 in Tirreno but no winner; and 4 in the first 12 in the Romandie prologue but again with no win.
One thing is clear, they are incredibly consistent in the discipline.
I could feasibly argue that any of Kiryienka, Froome, De La Cruz or Poels will make the podium tomorrow or possibly even better and I would be surprised not to see them all in the top 15.
Given the nature of the course and the need to get back up to speed quickly I think the punchy De La Cruz is their best chance.
He won the TT in Andalucia and followed that up with 12th (Paris Nice) and 7th (Itzulia). Not only a strong climber, his bike handling skills are very good and we’ve seen in the past him take some risks on descents. If he shows the same vigour tomorrow then he has a good chance of causing an upset. It is all just a matter of if he gets off the leash to do so!
With all that said though, it is a TT that is the perfect length for the best 8-14km TT rider in the World.
Rohan Dennis to take home the win.
It really should be a no bet day but I’m going to have a flutter on DLC for an interest.
0.25pt WIN De La Cruz @ 80/1 with Coral/Lads (Would take down to 50s)
1pt De La Cruz Top 3 @ 8/1 with Bet365 (Would take 6/1 lowest)
Thanks as always for reading! Who do you think will win tomorrow? Could we see a surprise? Anyway,
Those were My Two Spokes Worth.