A final time trial to settle the race. Bradley Wiggins leads but only six seconds so the final overall classification is no formality.
If we expect Wiggins to win, luckily this is sport and all sorts of things can happen. As Greg Lemond said on the eve of the final stage of the 1989 Tour de France “if he has a bad day and I have a good day anything is possible“, and the American went on to beat Laurent Fignon by just eight seconds on the overall. Lieuwe Westra is only six seconds behind Wiggins and he has shown powerful climbing on the stage to Mende. Similarly Tejay Van Garderen is only 20 seconds of a podium spot and could prove superior to Spilak and Valverde in the time trial.
The climb itself is part-technical, part obvious. There are no narrow parts, nor sharp bends but given it is just 9.6km, every second counts. The road climbs away from Nice on some steep sections and there is often a tailwind for the first two kilometres. Then the course begins to wind back towards the sea and level off before the midway section of 7% and then it continues on with spectacular views of the sea below.
Those high on the overall have proved they can climb and time trial so we should expect the likes of Wiggins and Valverde to do well. But some have suffered misfortune in the race and perhaps the likes of Jérôme Coppel, Sylvain Chavanel of Maxime Monfort can do well too.
TV: note the early start and finish, it will be on air from 1.30 to 3.30pm Euro time.
Weather: sunny and a light breeze coming in off the coast.
History: the Col d’Eze was used as a final time trial for the first time in 1969 when Eddy Merckx won. Sinc then it has been a regular feature of the race. But the starting and finish points have often changed meaning there is no definitive course record nor an easy way to compare today’s riders with Merckx. Not that the comparison is valid, riders will be using time trial bikes today with all the aerodynamic advantage possible. Merckx just rode on the drops.