The Team Time Trial returns to the Tour de France. Stage 9 is a Team Time Trial, after being omitted from the 2014 Tour. It is the final stage before the first rest day tomorrow. In overall length, it would be worth classifying it as a medium length Time Trial at 28 km long. The straining and finishing point of the Time Trial are Vannes and Plumelec respectively.
The 28 km course today has 2 check points at 10 km and 20.5 km, respectively. There are a total of 3 climbs, each around the 130 m altitude mark. This will not really be a problem normally, but the efforts of pacing a group in a Team Time Trial, it could split some of the non-mountain climbing riders. The final ascent of the day is a 1.7 km long ascent over a 6.2% gradient. Expect the expert climbers to really power the team here.
In the Team Time Trial, assuming all riders of a team finish, the time of median member of the squad is taken to be the time of the group. Even though some teams are not at their full complement of 9, the Time of the 5th rider will be the time for all. If any rider will finish behind the rest of his team for whatsoever reason, his actual time will be taken, not the 5th Riders time.
At the start of the Tour, Orica GreenEDGE (2013 Tour de France Team Time Trial winners and 2015 Giro D’italia Team Time Trial winners) and Etixx-Quick-Step would be the favourites to win the stage. However, Orica have already lost 3 riders in the Tour and Michael Matthews is injured, leaving them out of contention. While Etixx have only lost Tony Martin, he is a powerhouse and a time trial specialist. Etixx might still be outsiders for the victory but not the favourites.
The Favorites now will be Team BMC. They are the defending Team Time Trial World Champions having won the 2014 edition. The squad is at its full strength and high spirited Tejay might be in Yellow. Sky would be second favourites as their riders are more suited to mountainous terrain, not the flats (where they lost last year). Hence allowing Froome to maybe retain the Maillot Jaune.
From the other general contenders’ favourites, all of them are at full strength, although Saxo-Tinkoff (Alberto Contador) will be able to perform better over Movistar (Nairo Quintana) and Astana (Vincenzo Nibali). Contador will be hoping to now start laying down the foot as we approach the mountains. However, between the 3, it’s difficult to choose.
One slight disadvantage for Movistar is main Time Trial man, Alex Dowsett is nursing an injury sustained in a minor crash in the Tour and may not be able to power them as he normally does. Astana, Movistar and Saxo-Tinkoff will naturally try to win, but should hope not to lose large chunks of time to Sky and BMC.
No points will be awarded in the Green Jersey competition today.
On next Slide-> The Top 20 of the General Classification
The Top 20 of the General Classification
The Top 20 of the Points Classification
On next Slide-> Jersey’s to be worn today
The Jersey’s to be worn today
Yellow Jersey (Maillot Juane)
Chris Froome finished strongly on day 8. He holds a slender 11 and 13 second lead over Sagan and Van Garderen. Tomorrow the BMC leader Van Garderen will be the biggest threat in the standings, but Froome will be confident in his Team’s ability.
Green Jersey (Maillot Vert)
With a strong stage 8 finish, Peter Sagan, the 3 time defending Green Jersey champion puts himself atop the point’s classification with a 3 point lead over Greipel. He has not won a stage in the Tour, but has proven himself as a consistent finisher in the top 5 of bunch sprints.
White Jersey (Maillot Blanc)
Peter Sagan will be holding this along with the Green Jersey as he now sits 2nd overall in the classification. However with the Mountains on the horizon, he will drop down the General Classification, but shouldn’t lose ground in the points classification as his rivals won’t keep up in the mountains.
However, he will wear Green tomorrow.
Warren Barguil of Giant-Alpecin
King of the Mountains (Polka dot jersey)
Daniel Teklehaimanot is certain to hold this jersey till atleast stage 10. With no categorized climbs today, no challenge can be made. However, it will be good to see if he will be up their battling with the General Classification favourites as we enter the Pyrenees on Monday.
Best Team (Yellow Helmets and numbers on a yellow background)
BMC hold a lead on the Best Team Classification. They now have a chance for their leader Van Garderen to start in Yellow on stage 10. That all depends on their performance today, but with 4 members of the UCI World Team Time Trial winning squad riding today. They really look set to be the best team.
Most combative rider (number on a red background)
Bartoz Huzarski of Bora Argon 18 is the going to wear the most combative rider award on stage 9. The Polish rider was the break away for most of the stage yesterday and was the last breakaway rider to be caught.