BMC win the Time Trial in a closely fought duel with Team Sky. The UCI World Team Time Trial Champions were pushed to the limit, and finished just 0.62 seconds ahead of Team Sky at the end of a thrilling Team Time Trial, which was notable for its 2 km uphill climb to the finish. While not a challenging climb alone, to do as a team is what would decide the team’s final positioning. The time of the 5th rider is taken as the time of the team.
The Teams started in reverse order of their position in the Team classification standings. Orica GreenEDGE, the favourites, when announced their roster for the squad found themselves last in the team classification following a disastrous first week in the Tour. With the 6 men (including an injured Michael Matthews) they soldiered on through the stage. They would ultimately end up finishing last, just under 5 minutes behind eventual winners, BMC.
Astana were the first team on the road that involved one of the big contenders for the Overall Classification battle. They beat the time set by IAM Cycling and it seemed Nibali might gain some time on his rivals. This happened in spite of an early wobble that saw 2 Astana riders fall behind due to miscommunication amongst themselves. They finished with a time of 32’50”. It would not be enough.
Against all expectations, Movistar, led by Quintana and Valverde finished with a time of 32’19”. While Saxo-Tinkoff seemed promising, they finished behind movistar and crucially, 7 seconds of Nibali’s Astana squad with a time of 32’43”.
The Big Duel, which everyone wanted to see was Team BMC, the world time trial champions against Team Sky. Throughout the course, both were equally matched, always within a second of each other’s time at the 2 time posts. In the final climb, Sky overcame a wobble at the end, when their 5th rider, Nicolas Roche was struggling with the exertion. He and his team pushed on but eventually missed out to BMC by a single second.
BMC finished the Trial with 32’15” time, and Sky were classified a further 1 second down.
Chris Froome retains his Yellow Jersey, with a 12 second lead over Tejay van Garderen. The biggest winner of this Time Trial was Nairo Quintana as the third place finish of Movistar pushed and Valverde into the top 10. Nibali lost the most, having lost time to all his major rivals, he will need to be aggressive in the mountains.
The General Classification Top 20 looks like
The teams will now fly down to the Pyrenees and enjoy a day of rest tomorrow. The Tour will resume from Monday, when the Mountains enter the picture.