Tour de France - Stage Two guide: Time for the TTT

Sun, 03 Jul 06:30:00 2011

The team time trial has dealt a severe blow to the GC ambitions of some riders in previous Tour de France editions.

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Stage 2 – Sun, 3 July – Les Essarts-Les Essarts (TTT) – 23km

Type: Team time trial

Difficulty: ***

Details: Short, flat and with only the odd bend, this team time trial will be enough to propel someone new into yellow, but should not see the kind of time gaps which often appear in longer versions on the discipline. A shorter route was preferred by race organisers so that some of the main contenders would not find themselves out of contention at such an early stage of the race.

Watch out for: Losing riders – the time for each team is taken when the fifth man crosses the finish line so teams can only afford to shed four riders during the course of the stage.

Prediction: Team Sky's Bradley Wiggins and Geraint Thomas are both Olympic gold medal track cyclists and so the British team will have a clear advantage today. But discount Garmin-Cervelo and HTC-Highroad at your peril – they are also specialists in this type of challenge.

History: There was no TTT in the 2010 Tour, but in 2009 the Astana team of Alberto Contador and Lance Armstrong won the 39km TTT by 18 seconds over Garmin-Slipstream. But some big names – including the likes of Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre and Denis Menchov – lost minutes to the other GC contenders, prompting Armstrong to taunt: "I think today, the Tour de France is finished for some riders."

TDF: preview Stage 2

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