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July 06, 2004

TTT limits on time lost

There's been a lot of discussion of new rules in the team time trial this year. Strong time trialists Lance Armstrong and Levi Leipheimer are both on record against it, but it's the Tour, and what can you do?

Essentially, each team gets one of two times: either the time when the team's 5th rider crosses the line, or a calculated time based on 10-second gaps starting 20 seconds slower than the fastest team, whichever is fastest. If Team 1 wins the stage, 8 minutes in front, Team 2 gets a 7:40 second time bonus, Team 3 is placed 10 seconds behind that, etc.

This has been widely reported as limiting time lost to 2:30, but the maximum difference between 1st and 21st place is actually 3:00 (Here are the rules in English - PDF). It seems like a better way to limit the time lost on the TTT would be to shorten the route.

The four strongest teams in the TTT are likely to be US Postal, CSC, Phonak, and possibly T-Mobile. Fassa Bortolo moved ahead of CSC on Tuesday in overall team classification, so Postal has the advantage of going last, 5 minutes after FB, 10 after CSC, and can compare time splits and adjust effort appropriately.

There's also a good discussion of this from rec.bicycles.racing in late June.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 6, 2004 in About the Tour, Top Stories | Permalink


What is the total distance of the tour de' france?

Posted by: tommy at Jul 7, 2004 8:50:52 AM

Could the fact that USPS is so good at the TTT have anything to do with this rule change?

Perhaps these rules were put into place because some would rather delete the TTT completely, but it's interesting that the new rules just happen to hurt the Blue Train the most.

Posted by: john m at Jul 7, 2004 1:53:19 PM

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