A pretty much pan-flat 6.6km hit out around Valence. As with all TTs I’ve made the route on Strava/Veloviewer and that’s the profile I’ll be using here as you can’t really make out much in the official one! You can of course access the Veloviewer profile through this link.
The route is like a very stretched out basin, with the riders descending for the first part before they regain the altitude in the latter half, well, over a few hundred metre segment. That is the most challenging part of the route, the 660m section near the end of the day which averages a very modest 3.3%. Not really that tough then is it? But of course, you want to have something left to power through it, especially when the road rises after a turn so their speed will be knocked down ever so slightly.
You can actually watch a streetview recce of the whole route in the following video. I’d recommend 0.5x speed to get a better understanding.
I would ignore the end of the video ever so slightly though as I’m fairly certain the riders will be on the road, not the cobbled pavement that is parallel to it.
One thing to note from it though is that the majority of the roads, although sweeping, will be able to be taken at full speed. However, there is a sequence of a nasty and tight turns around the 2km mark which I’m certain the riders will be trying to perfect their lines through when they have a practice run in the morning as a good amount of time/speed can be gained or lost there.
With all that said though, the course looks as if it should suit the power riders in the peloton.
Jos Van Emden.
The Jumbo rider starts as the bookmakers favourite and in this field it is understandable why, he always seems to go very well in these short efforts against the clock. One of the best in the world at a <10km TT, without Dennis here then he is the justifiable favourite. The one question mark that lingers over his head is: how much did the Giro take out of him? We’ve seen “Tour legs” be a thing in the past where riders who go well at the Tour notoriously go well in San Sebastian not long after. Can Van Emden reap the benefits?
Van Emden isn’t the only Jumbo rider who could post a good time, with “puncheur” Boom capable of delivering a very good effort when needed. He seems to be slowly getting back to good form after his heart operation in the off-season, stating that good sensations are returning. In Romandie he was very close to the top of the order at the intermediate split before a mechanical ruined his chance of a good result in that prologue, I expect more from him here.
So close to a win in that Romandie prologue, the flat course should suit the young BMC rider even more. A strong rider who seems to produce his best results in short TTs, I would not be surprised to see him in the top 5 tomorrow, or even fighting for the win.
The second BMC rider to make the list, he has really upped his game this year since the change of team, with 8/14/2/2 being his results against the clock this season. Tomorrow’s power course should be up his street and like Bohli, I would be surprised not to see him near the top of the order. It was at the prologue in Paris Nice a couple of years ago that he broke onto the scene, can he go better than his results so far and take a WT win?
He was bitterly disappointed in the Giro to have missed out on the Pink Jersey on the opening day but his performance in the second TT was pretty poor and he duly abandoned the race the day after. There is no doubt that Campenaerts is a very talented rider but I mentioned it in the Giro TT preview: he just doesn’t seem to win enough.
Flying at the start of the year, he was then sub-par in Romandie so who knows where his form will be at the moment. Apparently he is approaching the Tour as if he is going to be leader but I can’t really see that being the case, so he might arrive at this race a bit sharper than others, wanting to take advantage of their form. Sky were flying as a team in TTs this year up until the Giro which was odd. Thomas could pull any result out of the bag here. Likewise, the same can be said for Kwiatkowski and Castroviejo, even Van Baarle. We could see 4 of them in the top 10 again, or we could get the Giro vintage of Sky in TTs.
Crashing out while practicing the Romandie prologue was not ideal for the Trek rider as it meant he missed out of competing at the Giro. The Dauphiné will be his first race back after that collarbone injury so it will be interesting to see where his form is at. The short power course is good for him (like many) but I think he himself will fall short due to lack of form.
Others to look out for who might cause a surprise include Gougeard, Jungels and De Gendt.
The form TT team will take a win with the form TT rider who has been knocking at the door this season, Patrick Bevin to step up to the big time leagues here!
The podium will then be filled with Jumbo riders.
GC Preview in 50 Words
TTT to set the scene. Four mountain top finishes to create some gaps. Short stages to entice the action, maybe too many, damp squib? GC battle hopefully should go down to final day. Numbers will be key. Sky dominant team – Thomas to win and prove himself before the Grand Boucle.
1pt EW Bevin @ 12/1
1pt EW Boom @ 20/1
Both with Bet365.
I also think Brandle might be a bit undercooked so willing to take him on in a H2H with Jungels.
4pts Jungels to beat Brandle @ 11/8 (Ladbrokes)
Thanks as always for reading! Who do you think is going to win tomorrow? Anyway,
Those were My Two Spokes Worth.