Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Stage 11 Individual Time Trial Preview 2013 Tour De France

Stage 11 on the map

The race of truth arrives to test the riders’ strength against the clock. The stage-11 time trial on the scenic island of Mont Saint-Michel is the first of two TT’s that measure just over 30k. The next one comes on stage 17 and contains two category-2 climbs. This 33k TT however, is relatively flat, and will favor a somewhat different class of favorites.

the majestic Mont Saint-Michel

We viewers get to enjoy another picturesque day as the Tour De France visits Mont Saint-Michel, but the riders will be too busy eating up the road to enjoy the scenery. Some rearranging of the General Classification will be on the menu.

Omega Pharma’s time trial master, Tony Martin, who endured a concussion, a bruised lung, and a battered body in a stage-1 crash, seems to be riding better and surely will give the TT his all. The GC favorites will be racing hard to limit their losses to—or gain time on—Chris Froome, who excels against the clock. But many very good time trial riders are here to contest this stage.

Stage 11 ITT profile

Besides Martin and Froome, strong performances can be expected from the likes of Michal Kwiatkowski, and Sylvain Chavanel. In fact Omega Pharma-Quickstep have several good TT cards to play on stage 11; Peter Velits and Niki Terpstra are also talented against the clock. I would expect a very high finish for Chavanel.

Several top GC riders like Cadel Evans, Alberto Contador and Tejay Van Garderen have all been excellent at the TT, but each one’s form has come into question. I think Contador and Evans can pull out good rides on Wednesday, but Tejay doesn’t seem to be firing on all cylinders. I would expect fast times by Jean-Christophe Peraud, Rui Costa, and Bauke Mollema, and probably Alejandro Valverde. All have shown great form lately.

The time trial route
Besides the GC guys, good time trial contenders include Lieuwe Westra, Tom Dumoulin, Lars Boom, Svein Tuft, Michael Rogers, Blel Kadri, and more. I have only named one Spaniard so far, but I like one of Movistar’s young talents as a possible spoiler for Tony Martin: 26-year old Jonathan Castroviejo. He has showed excellent results in time trials like these. I see him in the top five at least.

MY PICK: Tony Martin. I would not bet against him. 
My dark-horse pick would be Thomas Dumoulin of Argos-Shimano.

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