This article first appeared on Cyclingnews.com
The 2017 Tour de France has nearly 40km of individual time trials over two stages, and with only five summit finishes in the entire race, are likely to prove crucial for the overall victory.
Individual time trial world champion, Tony Martin, was the favourite for the stage ahead of the start, but following a sensational performance from Richie Porte he had to settle for second place on the day.
The road stages of the Criterium du Dauphine have seen no less than four new framesets on display this year. Whilst the new Cannondale Super Slice and BMC Timemachine were raced during the stage for Cannondale-Drapac and BMC Racing respectively, both framesets have been seen at various time trials throughout the 2017 season.
Fabio Felline (Trek-Segafredo) took a surprise victory at the Tour de Romandie prologue in April. Notably, the Italian opted to run a Lightweight Autobahn rear wheel as opposed to the offerings from team partner Bontrager.
Alberto Contador continued this trend, with both his race bike and spare bike equipped with the German carbon specialists rear wheels. Atop of the Trek-Segafredo team car appeared to be another spare Lightweight Autobahn wheel, albeit featuring Bontrager stickers to perhaps conceal its true identity.
Alberto Contador also opted to run a Shimano PRO Textreme 3-Spoke front wheel, which had had its decals remove to further save Bontragers blushes.
Following the Lightweight trend, Orica-Scott had the entire team equipped with the same Lightweight Autobahn rear wheels, a recognition of the wheel’s performance.
And following the dramatic wheel failure of the PRO Textreme 3-Spoke front wheel during the opening team time trial at Tirreno-Adriatico in March, Shimano released a statement claiming Team Sky ran tyre widths less than the minimum safety restriction of 24mm. This decision likely caused the wheel failure at the Italian stage race, which thankfully did not cause any major injuries.
Shimano’s subsequent statement and safety warning does not seem to have deterred Team Sky from running narrower tyres for time trials however, with Chris Froome running a 22mm Continental tubular tyre on the wheel.
Chris Froome’s famous marginal gains didn’t stop there. The three-time Tour de France champion was also equipped with an aerodynamic Wahoo Elemnt Bolt computer, the first cycling computer to feature prominent aerodynamic properties.
A relatively flat course invited large gearing for the 23.5km time trial. Many riders appeared to be running 58 tooth non-consumer Shimano 9000 series chain rings, whilst Chris Froome ran his famous oval chainrings in a 58/46T combination.
Cannondale-Drapac have featured their new Super Slice time trial bike at nearly every TT event so far this season, notably available in both calliper and disc brake options.
Click or swipe through the extensive gallery above to see what was on show for the Criterium du Dauphine stage 4 time trial.