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Gallery: 20 years of Tour de France team time trials

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Fabian Cancellara's Saxo Bank team kept him in the maillot jaune

Fabian Cancellara's Saxo Bank team kept him in the maillot jaune
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The crash of David Zabriskie (CSC) lost his team the maillot jaune and the stage in 2005.

The crash of David Zabriskie (CSC) lost his team the maillot jaune and the stage in 2005.
(Image credit: AFP Photo)
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Mountains leader Claudio Chiapucchi at the 1990 Tour TTT

Mountains leader Claudio Chiapucchi at the 1990 Tour TTT
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Teams get started for the 1990 Tour de France TTT

Teams get started for the 1990 Tour de France TTT
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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The 1990 Tour de France TTT

The 1990 Tour de France TTT
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Cadel Evans in the green jersey in 2011

Cadel Evans in the green jersey in 2011
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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David Zabriskie wore the maillot jaune in 2005 TTT but crashed late in the stage and was left behind

David Zabriskie wore the maillot jaune in 2005 TTT but crashed late in the stage and was left behind
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Thor Hushovd with Credit Agricole in 2005

Thor Hushovd with Credit Agricole in 2005
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Erik Dekker wears the polka dot jersey in Rabobank's TTT in 2005

Erik Dekker wears the polka dot jersey in Rabobank's TTT in 2005
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Robbie McEwen in the maillot jaune with Lotto in the 2004 Tour de France TTT

Robbie McEwen in the maillot jaune with Lotto in the 2004 Tour de France TTT
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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The Once team was second in 2001

The Once team was second in 2001
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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The Gewiss team

The Gewiss team
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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2000 Tour de France: Marco Pantani's Mercatone Uno team in the TTT

2000 Tour de France: Marco Pantani's Mercatone Uno team in the TTT
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Green jersey Djamolidine Abdoujaparov in the TTT in 1991

Green jersey Djamolidine Abdoujaparov in the TTT in 1991
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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The Ryalcao - Postobon team about to start in 1991

The Ryalcao - Postobon team about to start in 1991
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Gianni Bugno's Gatorade team in 1991

Gianni Bugno's Gatorade team in 1991
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Laurent Jalabert in the maillot jaune in the 1995 Tour TTT

Laurent Jalabert in the maillot jaune in the 1995 Tour TTT
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Udo Bolts leads the Telekom team in 1995

Udo Bolts leads the Telekom team in 1995
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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The Gewiss-Ballan team won the TTT in 1995

The Gewiss-Ballan team won the TTT in 1995
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Motorola in the 1995 Tour TTT

Motorola in the 1995 Tour TTT
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Marco Pantani in the 1995 Tour TTT

Marco Pantani in the 1995 Tour TTT
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Gianni Bugno in the 1995 Tour

Gianni Bugno in the 1995 Tour
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Kelme in the 1995 Tour TTT to Alencon

Kelme in the 1995 Tour TTT to Alencon
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Rolf Sorensen and Davide Cassani were part of the 1991 TTT winning Ariostea team

Rolf Sorensen and Davide Cassani were part of the 1991 TTT winning Ariostea team
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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The Ariostea team won the TTT in the 1991 Tour

The Ariostea team won the TTT in the 1991 Tour
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Helvitia in 1991

Helvitia in 1991
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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The Helvetia team in 1991

The Helvetia team in 1991
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Fabian Cancellara leads the Leopard Trek team in 2011

Fabian Cancellara leads the Leopard Trek team in 2011
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Sky was colourful with the Norwegian and British TT champs and white jersey in 2011

Sky was colourful with the Norwegian and British TT champs and white jersey in 2011
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Armstrong and then-Spanish champion Alberto Contador in the TTT in 2009

Armstrong and then-Spanish champion Alberto Contador in the TTT in 2009
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The HTC team was colorful in 2009 with green jersey Cavendish

The HTC team was colorful in 2009 with green jersey Cavendish
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Garmin suffered to second place in 2009 behind Armstrong's Astana team

Garmin suffered to second place in 2009 behind Armstrong's Astana team
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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David Zabriskie leads the Garmin team to second in 2009

David Zabriskie leads the Garmin team to second in 2009
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Liquigas rides to fourth in 2009

Liquigas rides to fourth in 2009
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Lotto has issues in the 2009 TTT

Lotto has issues in the 2009 TTT
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The Lampre team in 2009

The Lampre team in 2009
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Liquigas

Liquigas
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The Lampre team

The Lampre team
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Lance Armstrong and his team win their third TTT in 2005

Lance Armstrong and his team win their third TTT in 2005
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Mapei-QuickStep in the 2001 Tour TTT, a 67km beast of a stage.

Mapei-QuickStep in the 2001 Tour TTT, a 67km beast of a stage.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Deutsche Telekom shows their strength in the 2001 Tour TTT

Deutsche Telekom shows their strength in the 2001 Tour TTT
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Lampre-Daikin in 2001

Lampre-Daikin in 2001
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Philippe Gilbert and his Omega Pharma team in 2011

Philippe Gilbert and his Omega Pharma team in 2011
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The riders must hurry up and wait before the TTT.

The riders must hurry up and wait before the TTT.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Garmin took the maillot jaune with Thor Hushovd in the 2011 TTT

Garmin took the maillot jaune with Thor Hushovd in the 2011 TTT
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Garmin-Cervelo put in a brilliant ride in 2011

Garmin-Cervelo put in a brilliant ride in 2011
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Lampre gets underway for its TTT in 2011

Lampre gets underway for its TTT in 2011
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Damiano Cunego shows off the top TT helmet of 2011.

Damiano Cunego shows off the top TT helmet of 2011.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Cadel Evans wore the green jersey for the 2011 TTT with BMC

Cadel Evans wore the green jersey for the 2011 TTT with BMC
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Philippe Gilbert wore the maillot jaune for the 2011 TTT

Philippe Gilbert wore the maillot jaune for the 2011 TTT
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Omega Pharma-Lotto on the start ramp in Les Essarts in 2011

Omega Pharma-Lotto on the start ramp in Les Essarts in 2011
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Katusha in 2011

Katusha in 2011
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The US Postal Service team couldn't manage to win in 2001

The US Postal Service team couldn't manage to win in 2001
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The US Postal Service team won its second Tour TTT in 2004

The US Postal Service team won its second Tour TTT in 2004
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

The team time trials in the Tour de France have undergone quite an evolution over the past 100 editions. In the 1920s, the race instituted a staggered start where teams would begin stages at different times in order to force the team leaders to ride hard every day, but by 1929 these endless days of teams riding together became so boring the discipline vanished from the race, with one exception, until 1954.

The team time trials back then were very different from what we see today, but a more modern version of the discipline emerged in the 1960s, and from 1962 until 1995, the team time trial was a part of every single edition - in 1980 and 1982 there were two!

Excitement over the years ranged from Stephen Roche famously missing the start of his team's race in 1991 to David Zabriskie crashing during the test while wearing the maillot jaune with CSC in the 2005 Tour.

After the dominance of Miguel Indurain in the 1990s, the team time trial was removed from the Tour from 1996 through the year 2000, when the team test from Nantes to Saint-Nazaire was won by the ONCE team, putting Laurent Jalabert in the maillot jaune, even though the team was given a 20 second penalty because directeur sportif Manolo Saiz helped block the crosswind with his team car.

The discipline has been included in the Tour de France nine times since its post-Indurain renaissance, and has helped to shape the general classification. While a complicated set of new rules were instituted in 2004 and 2005 to try and limit the time losses for the stage, the experiment was deemed a failure and reversed to the natural order of events we see today.

By keeping the team time trial to just 25km in length, the test in Nice shouldn't be too devastating to the smaller teams.