In what should have been the first major general classification shake-up of the Tour de France, the already nervous peloton will get set to take on a 35.5-kilometre team time trial during Stage 3. Join The Roar for live coverage from 11pm (AEST).
Crashes on Stage 1 mean Richie Porte and Chris Froome – the two race favourites – come into today’s stage one minute and seven seconds behind on general classification.
While their closest rival, Nairo Quintana is even further behind after a puncture late on Stage 1, the concern is now shaping up to be Vincenzo Nibali of the Bahrain-Merida team, who finished 11th on Stage 1 after staying out of trouble.
He will love taking the advantage into this stage, given BMC and Sky are among the most well-drilled outfits in the world when it comes to the team race against the clock.
Porte and Froome, who have both been in good form after winning the Tour de Suisse and Giro D’Italia respectively in the lead-up, will be expecting to pull back huge chunks of time tonight.
Even if they aren’t overly stressed about losing the seconds on Stage 1, two men who should be are Adam Yates and Quintana. The Australian Michelton-Scott outfit, who Yates rides for, have been good in team time trials previously, but may have sacrificed some of that advantage in an attempt to have him looked after when it comes to the mountains.
Movistar have never been the most excellent of team time trial teams and with Quintana a poor time trialist in his own right, it’s hard to see him coming out of tonight’s stage in better shape than he started it.
Tom Dumoulin, riding for Sunweb is one rider who the start of the race has played right into his hands. A very strong time trialist, he will be looking to drag his team along and hopefully pick up some seconds to bring himself right into the general classification picture.
The stage itself is just 35.5 kilometres in length and lumps around a little bit. It’s technical enough in nature that a good time trialist could certainly change the outcome for their team by a few seconds here and there.
BMC and Sky will duke this out at the front of affairs, with Sunweb not far behind. It’s hard to discount Michelton-Scott after their previous efforts in this discipline as well.
But I have to go with Sky. They are as professional as you can get and should pick up a few vital seconds over Porte and BMC.
Be sure to join The Roar for live coverage of the crucial Stage 3 at the Tour de France from 11pm (AEST) and don’t forget to add a comment in the section below.