Analysis by Jean-François Pescheux, Tour competition director: “This is the first of two crucial time trials that are certain to have a major influence on who ends up as the final winner. It’s a long time since the first time trial has come this late in the race – after two weeks and with the Alps already a memory. This could well mean that it won’t be a test that favours the specialists, unlike last year’s first time trial in Rennes won by Serhiy Gonchar, because the pure rouleurs will have expended a huge amount of effort already. This will be a test that suits the race’s strong men, over a long – 54 kilometres – demanding and technical course. It’s a bit like the Cap Découverte in 2003, when Jan Ullrich put the wind up Lance Armstrong. Another thing to bear in mind is that the riders will have to keep something in their tanks because the first encounter with the Pyrenees comes tomorrow.”

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