Three weeks ago David Zabriskie put Team CSC on top of the leaderboard when he won the opening time trial of this year's Tour. Today saw team riders fare well again against the clock, with Bobby Julich and Ivan Basso placing fourth and fifth in the 55 kilometre test at St. Etienne.
Basso had the best intermediate time at 17 kilometres, but towards the end the Italian ran out of strength. However his solid ride saw him hold onto his second place overall and, barring disaster tomorrow, he will finish the Tour in this position. With Lance Armstrong retiring in less than 24 hours time, the Italian is seen as the most probably successor.
"Ivan did well in this time trial and once again demonstrated that he has improved tremendously in this discipline," said CSC directeur sportif Bjarne Riis. "In hindsight you could say he came on too strong at the beginning, but he wanted to give it his all, too see how far it would take him."
Others riding well today were Carlos Sastre (12th) and first-time Tour rider Luke Roberts, who topped the leaderboard early on and finally finished 17th.