Stage 4: Montpellier - Montpellier team time trial
By John Stevenson
Thursday, July 2, 2009 11.00pm
Against the clock test will favour strong teams
The team time-trial is back in the Tour de France, but with one major change: real time will count over the 38 kilometre course. Unlike the last team time trials in 2004 and 2005, where time losses were determined by each squad's placing, the time recorded on the line will be the deciding factor.
Montpellier has often hosted the Tour because of its location halfway between the Alps and Pyrenees. In 1930, Charles Pélissier won the fourth of his eight stage victories in the town, a record still standing today. Since then, Montpellier has witnessed many sprints, including those won by Robbie McEwen in 2005 and Robert Hunter in 2007. The start line for the race against the clock will be the magnificent Place de la Comédie.
Jonathan Vaughters' views
This event is like the beautiful woman that loves me and then sometimes leaves me for another….
Past the poor poetry, the team time trial at the Tour is more complex than the TTT at the Giro. It's hilly, very technical and longer than the Giro TTT.
All these factors cause more possibility for error and confusion in a team. Any little mistake will lose the stage, any big mistakes and it will lose the Tour for a GC rider. No time loss limits in this edition. It's open warfare.
Sadly, I cannot say Garmin is the favourite, but instead our rival Columbia, with the massive form they exhibited in Tour de Suisse.
You never know, though….we weren’t the favourites in the 2008 Giro. Maybe Garmin is just better at being the feisty underdog?