2017 Tour de France: Stage 20 live race updates, blog

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    Tony Martin will be among the riders looking forward to an Individual Time Trial on Stage 20 of the Tour de France. (Image: Team Sky)

    The Tour de France enters its penultimate day, a 22.5-kilometre Time Trial on Stage 20 in Marseille as Chris Froome looks to all but wrap up a fourth yellow jersey. Join The Roar for live coverage and updates from 9:45pm (AEST).

    After two days in the alpine region, Stage 19 was about as easy as the peloton could have asked for. Despite a strong headwind blowing, they let a 20-man breakaway go up the road and the peloton, led by Team Sky simply turned the pedals for 222.5 kilometres before crossing the line at a stroll.

    Today’s Time Trial starts in the famous Orange velodrome in Marseille and is more or less flat with the exception of a climb up to the cathedral of Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde.

    The climb takes the riders from sea level up to 116 metres over a distance of about two kilometres, and is reasonably steep, followed by an equally steep and technical descent.

    As mentioned, the rest of the course is just about pancake flat. Starting from the velodrome, there are three 90-degree corners early in the piece, before they get onto the beach front with a 180-degree turn to loop back up the other side of the road.

    Following that, the riders will follow the road along the coast, with a couple of sweeping corners, but nothing overly technical. This part of the course will be exposed to any sea-breeze and a change in conditions, which could only take minutes may influence the result of the race.

    The ride back from the coast to the velodrome will be the opposite of the route out, with the riders coming back up the other side of the road. That means more 90-degree turns, and if the weather were to turn ugly it will be a difficult Time Trial to gauge for consistent effort.

    Prediction
    Primoz Roglic has been in good form throughout the race and will take the challenge to Martin today – still, it’s impossible to overlook the world champion. Vasil Kiryienka is also suited to the course with the climb, and should round out the top three.

    In terms of the general classification, there is almost no intrigue for the top spot. Chris Froome is the best time trialist of the bunch, and he is already in yellow.

    The battle for minor placings though, is far more interesting. Rigoberto Uran should rise up to snatch second from Romain Bardet, while the Frenchman may struggle to fend off a challenge from Froome’s teammate, Mikel Landa for the final spot on the podium in Paris.

    Simon Yates holding the young rider classification is going to be tough as well – he is an ordinary time trialist, and Louis Meintjes is just 2:14 behind.

    Be sure to join The Roar for live coverage of Stage 20 from 9:45pm (AEST) and don’t forget to drop a comment in the section below.

    One of the mainstays of The Roar, Scott Pryde has written over 1,100 articles covering everything from rugby league to basketball, from tennis to cricket. You can follow him on Twitter @sk_pryde.