Stage 17: Embrun - Chorges (ITT)
Not your typical test
The turquoise waters of Lake Serre-Ponçon, one of the biggest manmade reservoirs in Europe, provides the backdrop for an intriguing time trial. Befitting a Tour that should suit climbers, this 32km test features two second-category climbs. The Côte de Puy-Sanières and the Côte de Réallon may not be enough to tip the balance in favour of the specialist climbers but they will certainly help. The likes of Joaquim Rodríguez and Nairo Quintana shouldn't lose much time on this course that has more up than down.
Who'll be in the running for the win? Chris Froome, Alberto Contador and BMC duo Cadel Evans and Tejay van Garderen have the climbing and time trial pedigree to give them an edge. The Australian and the Spaniard have a strong record in this kind of test. Yet none of the contenders are likely to gain or lose much time, which will set things up nicely for the trio of Alpine stages ahead, beginning with one of the most eagerly awaited stages for years.
Alberto Contador edged out Fabian Cancellara to win the Annecy time trial in the 2009 Tour and confirm his overall victory.
Barry Hoban: "This is billed as a time trial for climbers but I don't see it that way. It suits them more than a flat course but Wiggins could still gain time as the climbs aren't hard enough to penalise him. But the favourite for today probably has to be Froome based on his recent form."
Based on past success in a hilly lakeside time trial, Alberto Contador will be among the favourites today. At Annecy in 2009, towards the end of an attritional race where his biggest challenge was dealing with divisions within his Astana team, the Spaniard triumphed and cemented his hold on the yellow jersey.
Maps and profiles courtesy of ASO
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