Analysis by Jean-François Pescheux, Tour competition director: “The final countdown begins. This is a long time trial, although not as tough as the one at Albi. The roads are a lot straighter for a start. The course should favour riders able to power along on a big gear – in other words, the specialists, someone like David Millar perhaps – and those who are still feeling strong at this point in the race. This stage is not typical of recent Tours, when the final time trial has tended to be more technical or undulating than the first, and consequently didn’t favour rouleurs as much. Last year, for example, Oscar Pereiro rode incredibly well to finish fourth in a tough time trial at Montceau-les-Mines, but he won’t find this course as much to his liking. Any climber with hopes of overall victory will need to have gained some time before today, otherwise they will find themselves suffering.”

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