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July 03, 2011

Stage 2 TTT preview

Slipstreaming
Today's Stage 2 features the team time trial. The TTT seems simple enough -- line up all your team's riders, and get them as quickly as possible to the finish line, with all riders who finish together getting the time of the 5th man across the line.

In practice, winning the TTT requires strong riders, careful coordination, and a bit of strategy. Teams can't afford to drop their GC hopes, and will usually try to keep even their weaker TT riders in the group as long as possible by varying the length of their riders' pulls. Teams that are comfortable with the TTT will do this by smoothly rotating through a paceline, while teams that aren't will look like 9 guys on your local club ride. Strong riders will speed up as they pull through, causing gaps and extra effort for their teammates.

The Tour itself seems to be minimizing the role of the time trial, and especially the team time trial. This year's edition is only 23 kilometers, down from 67 a few years back, limiting the potential damage. Alberto Contador's Saxo Bank team is first out of the blocks, at 8:30 Eastern, Garmin's at 9:26, Radio Shack at 10:29, HTC-High Road at 10:36, Leopard-Trek at 10:43, BMC at 10:50, and Omega Pharma at 10:57.

The US-based teams tend to be strong in the discipline, and I've seen Radio Shack, HTC-High Road, and Garmin-Cervelo picked to take today's win. Personally, I'm expecting HTC-High Road, and rooting for Garmin-Cervelo.

More:

CyclingNews | Stage 2 Preview

Bicycling.com | Joe Lindsay - Stage 2 Team Time Trial

letour.fr | Stage 2 Route

Posted by Frank Steele on July 3, 2011 in 2011 Stage 2 | Permalink

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