A team time trial and three races in one. First to win the stage, second to place GC riders in position and third a dress rehearsal ahead of the Tour de France and its own 28km time trial.
Stage 2 Wrap: Daniel Teklahaimanot went clear from the start with Europcar’s Pierrig Quéméneur and FDJ’s Arnaud Courteille, fresh enough despite the Giro in his legs allowing the Eritrean to take maximum points. However the bunch kept the trio on a leash with Cofidis and Sky doing the early work before Giant-Alpecin and Lampre-Merida agreed to join in. At one point the leaders were going to be caught so the peloton eased off, the idea is to leave them out there so that if anyone dares to attack out of the bunch they’ll have to bridge across to the breakaway and then find three riders eager to sit on their wheel and spoil things. Inevitably we got a bunch sprint and Cofidis barged their way through the field to launch Nacer Bouhanni. There was a headwind but it just served to make life even harder for the fatigued Sacha Modolo.
The Route: the race starts on the edge of the city of Roanne and crosses the Loire river to head out into the countryside and starts climbing gradually at 2.3%. The top of the first climb sees a left turn and then a rough country lane north and the race descends to Perreux and the first time check.
The route then heads east up a long dragging road for the final 10km climbing steadily from the 6km to go point before dropping to take the bypass road around Montagny before circling back to finish uphill in the tiny town. It’s uphill but just, a couple of clicks of a gear’s difference but this could be the undoing of some.
The Contenders: Team Sky are the logical pick. They come with a very strong team including engines like Ian Stannard and Luke Rowe and have the twin goal of protecting Peter Kennaugh’s yellow jersey and putting Chris Froome ahead of his GC rivals.
Astana will be worth watching because they can win and to see how Vincenzo Nibali and his team collaborate with a view to the Tour de France TTT stage. Lars Boom, Andriy Grivko and Rein Taaramäe can help drive the team.
Movistar are contenders for the win with TT specialists Alex Dowsett and Jonathan Castroviejo helping to drive the team to support Alejandro Valverde. There’s a degree of uncertainty here because Beñat Intxausti could help but may be tired from the Giro for such a sharp effort.
Etixx-Quickstep have a powerful squad with Tony Martin who is always worth two riders. Niki Terpsta and Stijn Vandenbergh know how to roll.
BMC Racing have a very strong squad to support Tejay van Garderen with Daniel Oss, Manuel Quinziato, Rohan Dennis and Michael Schär to drive things. They’re the world team time trial champions, an odd concept given the whole squad that won the title could have quit or retired but in this case four of the six winning riders from Ponferrada are here.
Orica-Greenedge are specialists at this kind of effort but this isn’t the team that pushed Sky so close in Romandie, then they had Svein Tuft, Brett Lancaster and Michael Hepburn, now the only TT specialist today is Damien Howson, a good engine but the squad doesn’t look like a team pursuit replica. A similar story for Katusha who don’t have all their usual locomotive riders to power the team. Bora-Argon 18 could be the surprise, it’s hard to imagine them winning but with powerful riders like Jan Barta and Bartosz Huzarski they’ll hope to beat a few of the big teams.
Finally watch the other teams to see how they fare. Ag2r La Mondiale in particular need to improve in order to support Romain Bardet and J-C Péraud.
|Team Sky, BMC Racing|
Weather: sunshine and clouds, warming up to 24°C with a 15-20km/h breeze from the north, just enough to make teams fan out diagonally as they ride from the time check to the finish.
TV: the local start times are above and the course will take under 30 minutes for the best teams meaning the finish is forecast for around 2.15pm CET.
It’s an ASO race so you should find it on the same channel as you watch the Tour de France. It’s on Eurosport too and if all else fails you can rely on Cyclingfans and steephill.tv for links to feeds and streams.
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“A crash meant Joaquim Rodriguez, Wilco Kelderman and Steven Cummings all lost time.”
It was within the last 3km, so they got the same time as the bunch.
It will be interesting to see how big the gaps will be today ahead of the Tour.
You’re right, thanks. Today is calm but in the Tour the Brittany TTT could be windy but it’s still easy for some teams to lose a minute, plus after a chaotic opening week with cobbles, crosswinds and more.
Sacha Modolo said he is tired, which is no wonder, especially after his sucessful Giro. That he finished third got Pete Kennaugh another day in yellow.
Inner Ring –
That photo of Team Sky got me thinking about your post last year – The finances of Team Sky.
Which rule, specifically, constrains teams from being run for profit? You wrote “Teams are business-like but they are not run for profit – UCI rules constrain this – so there’s no surplus.”
Which rule(s) specifically?
It’s all in the World Tour teams section of the rulebook at http://www.uci.ch/mm/Document/News/Rulesandregulation/16/82/39/2-ROA-20150205-E_English.pdf
How ironic when compared to football where teams are not allowed to loose money!
What does this mean? So a rider couldn’t have a watch deal unless that watchmaker sponsors his racing team?
ARTICLE 6 – Miscellaneous obligations
1. The Rider may not, for the duration of the present contract, work for any other team
or advertise for any other sponsors than those belonging to the UCI WorldTeam,
save in such cases as are provided for in the regulations of the UCI.
Unless his specific contract allows that.
Those terms are only a model contract; it’s open to the rider and the team to agree different terms, provided that those terms don’t reduce the rights of the rider. So he could agree an additional specific sponsorship arrangement that doesn’t conflict with the team’s.
talking of rules – have the UCI screwed up allowing wiggos hour record bike?
You mean according to Dowsett’s not-actually-his-coach-but-really-a-mate-who-owns-a-bike-shop?
“TV: the local start times are above and the course will take under 30 minutes for the best teams meaning the finish is forecast for around 2.15pm CET.”
No country in Europe is currently observing CET. Europe/Paris is observing CEST. The last team will finish at around 14:45 CEST or 14:45 UTC+2.
Niki Terpsta and Stijn Vandenbergh know how to roll.
on a different note how do they decide the order for a TTT?
TTT start order is decided by reverse team standings: http://www.letour.fr/criterium-du-dauphine/2015/fr/classements.html
does anyone know what does the ‘fight’ is stands for on the cap Bouhanni is wearing?
I know he trained as a boxer
This kid might have a FIGHT on his hands if he keeps up the swerving around in the sprints. Reminds me of the old “Tashkent Terror”…all over the road. Cavendish might smack him upside the head if he rides like that in Le Beeg Shew.
Hopefully someone does. I understand Bouhanni’s antics are not well loved in the peloton, see stage 8 of last year’s Vuelta from his shameless body checking of Michael Matthews, should have been relegated for that.
Indeed. The Secret Pro who writes on Cyclingtips has called Bouhanni out several times for his lack of respect for other riders and for his disregard for some of the rules of the peleton.
I for one don’t have much respect… for the Secret Pro 😛
Apparently, being an insider doesn’t prevent him from writing things which are verifiably false.
His anonymity is quite different from inrng’s or ours. He’s “selling” his contents as “insider knowledge” but we just don’t know *precisely* how biased (or made up) they are because of, let’s name one… *competition*.
Obviously enough, we all know – rationally – that he’s probably shooting against guys he dislikes for whatever motive from envy to being direct competitors and so. On an equally rational level, we may even easily suppose that he’s fabricating some of the info he spreads.
And he has some right to do so (even if anonymity allows him to go nearer to libel than, say, an official twitter account).
All the same, the fact that you can’t directly expose his conflicts of interest (not knowing exactly who he is), or, maybe, denounce that he can’t *really* know something because he wasn’t in a position to do so, grants him an indefinite trust as an “especially-informed person” without the burden of the limits of that same knowledge.
In the end, it’s just white noise.
The Secret Pro is so filled with disclaimers (names and events changed to protect anonymity) that is impossible to tell fact from fiction. You could just as well make an article like that from the hearsay, rumor and assumptions circulating in cyclingnews forums. It’s (fake) gossip for clicks and views; it’s not news.
Also, if you’ve been reading Cyclingtips long enough, you may have also noticed that they have become less editorially independent as they have grown and become more ‘professional.’ i.e. obviously paid/sponsored product reviews that were not disclosed as such. I stopped reading regularly at that point.
The “Secret Pro” is one of the last people I would trust on anything and surely not as the judge of another rider or on “what the peloton thinks”. I wish that farce would finally come to an end, it is just badly biased gossip, without any real insight or anything to gain from it. About the sprint yesterday: After Nacer Bouhannis win many other riders from different teams were happy for him and congratulated him. So it can’t be sooo bad.
Not a general comment about Bouhanni’s sprints, but yesterday’s was just perfectly clean. You probably must see it again from above.
Abdou had nothing to share with this: he did the same… but when he had other guys around him, not when they where half a bike behind. Not even Modolo (who was in the riskier situation) was in such a position he could be damaged by Bouhanni’s movement.
And in the end he even left the required extreme space along the barriers. It was impeccable, sprinters’ handbook. In other occasions maybe it could be debated if a relegation was opportune (not in that Vuelta stage, IMHO, but it would be a lengthy OT), but you really can’t say anything about yesterday.
Talking about TTT world champions, does anybody know what happened to Peter Velits, havent seen him racing this year
He had to have an operation on arteries in his left leg – apparently caused by overuse. His recovery hasn’t been as straightforward as planned and he’s only now just getting back on his bike. Tentatively scheduled to be back in time for the Tour of Austria.
he was recently here in vienna in promoting his new cycling apparel brand. (with his brother) so he has other projects at hand 😉
Weather forecast is a stiffish 8mp NNE wind, quite warm around 70c.
But that wind will be head / cross, looking at the course map.
I’m going for the big diesel engines of Team Sky in that case.
The wind could see some considerable time differences too.
Did something change in the weather? Best three times allfrom early starters.
Froome loses around 30 secs to Nibali Valverde and Tejay.. interesting
Missed the live streaming, but wow.
I was right about the losses but wrong about the Sky train.
Was the wind / weather a touch more unfavourable later on ?
No weather changes AFAIK. Sky had a mare.
Just wanted to check: BMC, the reigning TTT world champs, and winner of today’s TTT (and new race leader)…were never even shown on TV. Did I fall asleep or did the TV producers?
the latter. God knows what they were up to.
Grand total of 47 x seconds coverage on Steephill.
I simply love TTTs, even with the bad way they get shown on tv. It is beautiful to see a whole team ride and to see the dynamics, the different tactics. It is just such a waste that through the tv coverage this discipline becomes so meaningless to watch. I understand that on a normal race day you can’t show 5 or 6 hours of racing. But with TTTs tv would have the chance to really show compact race action that is relatively eaay to translate even to casual viewers. Such a waste! From the various post-ride interviews it sounds as if some teams went too fast over the first climb and lost very early too many riders. You’d think at least at the WT-level the teams have a plan and are able to stick to that. They are lucky it was just the rehearsal and not the Tour. On the other hand, maybe because it was a rehearsal they tried out different things?
The obvious answer is surely sticking a couple of bike-mounted cameras on each team, on riders that will last the distance.
If we’re only going to get a measly 47 x seconds coverage of a winning team through the usual method, that’s surely got to be the way to go ?
Be much more interesting to watch also, I think.
Team Giant-Alpecin is having a tough time. Having started the race with only 7 riders (5 of those 7 having done the Giro) it really is no wonder that they came in as the 18th team. But they still were one place better than Tinkoff-Saxo. The glamorous life of professional cycling.