After an opening road stage in 2008 and a very hilly time trial of more than double the usual prologue distance last year in Monaco, the 97th Tour de France starts with a more traditional prologue TT both in terms of length and profile.
With fewer than a dozen bends, most quite sweeping, and no climbing, this is for time trial specialists. The only significant difficulty will be the wind that sweeps across the Erasmus Bridge. Otherwise, there are plenty of straights that might result in Chris Boardman’s 55.152kph average from the 1994 prologue being bettered.
Procycling’s favourite to win:
Hilly, flat, rolling… time trials all come the same to Fabian Cancellara these days. He absolutely creamed everyone on London’s flat prologue course in 2007 and repeated it on Monaco’s very different course in 2009. With three world time trial titles and Olympic TT gold to his credit, it would be foolish to bet against him if the weather stays settled. Note too that there was a Swiss winner the last time the Netherlands hosted a prologue in 1996 in the shape of Alex Zülle. If there is an upset, Dutch powerhouse Lars Boom might provide it.