Twenty years after Miguel Indurain claimed his fourth consecutive Tour de France victory, the 2014 race is set to pay homage to Big Mig with a full-length time trial in Bergerac -where the Spaniard won a key race against the clock in the 1994 edition of the Tour de France.
This time round the Bergerac time trial is widely expected to be the only individual race against the clock of the 2014 Tour de France and with its position on the second last day of the race, is likely to prove decisive in deciding who pulls on the final yellow jersey.
The full route of the 2014 Tour de France will be unveiled by organiser ASO in Paris on Wednesday. 2013 winner Chris Froome (Team Sky) and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) are the two big favourites for victory.
The Bergerac time trial is strongly rumoured to be around 50 kilometres long, rather than the 64 kilometre monster time trial of 1994, which came at the end of the first week of racing and prior to the Pyrenees. Back in 1994 the Tour de France visited Britain for two stages and came in the same year the Tour visited Lourdes Hautacam. The 2014 Tour de France starts in Yorkshire and Hautacam is also strongly rumoured to again be on the 2014 menu for a decisive mountain finish.
In 1994, Indurain, averaging over 50km/h for the lumpy 64 kilometre course, effectively won the Tour in one fell swoop at Bergerac before putting the opposition to the sword once again at the race’s first summit finish of Lourdes-Hautacam.
He finished two minutes ahead of Tony Rominger, whilst the rest of the field was vanquished to well beyond the four minute mark. Armand de las Cuevas, formerly a Banesto team-mate but by then with Castorama, finished at 4-22 in third place, French prologue specialist Thierry Marie at 4-45 and Britain’s Chris Boardman in fifth place at 5-27.
Indurain took over the lead from Johan Museeuw as a result of his victory, and whilst Rominger abandoned from illness midway through the second week, only East European veteran Piotr Ugrumov appeared able to put in a real challenge in the Alps. But by then Indurain was too far ahead to be beaten and a fourth Tour de France was secured. Indurain went on to win a fifth consecutive Tour de France the year after.
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Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. Apart from working for Cyclingnews.com, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.
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