Stage 20: Bergerac - Périgueux (ITT)
Category: Individual Time Tal
Highest point: 224m
This year, the Tour organisers incorporated only one individual time trial into the race – the first time that's happened since the 1950s. They're hoping that the time gaps created over the preceding three weeks across three mountain ranges and undulating stages will be small enough to make the 54km time trial crucial to the outcome of the final stage in Paris.
The localtion of this stage, colloquially dubbed 'Dordognshire' thanks to the large population of ex-pat Brits living in the region, should mean that Union flags are a regular feature along the route.
The parcours is describedby the ASO as more tuned to riders in great form than the true TT specialists such as Tony Martin, Fabian Cancellara and Bradley Wiggins. The route starts in flat farmland before turning into hillier terrain closer to
Périgueux. Riders such as Sylvain Chavanel and Alberto Contador – who have already scoped out the stage – could perform well.
Weather, or rather temperature, could be a factor. The last time a TT was run between these two towns – in 1994 – the mercury rose to 30°C in dead still conditions. Still, if Froome's form holds for long enough, he'll probably carry the day.
Alex Sans Vega says... "This time trial remembers Miguel Indurain, who won here 20 years ago. It's a really hard one and the winner has to be very strong. If the GC comes to Bergerac with small time gaps, anything can happen. This will determine a very tough Tour."
Two of the Tour de France's greatest time trialists have won the stage linking these two towns and at the end of each day, they had the yellow jersey firmly upon their shoulders. In the 1961 Bergerac-Périgueux stage, Jacques Anquetil, already in yellow, added three minutes to his big lead. In 1994, by the end of stage 9, Miguel Indurain had a win and a 2:28 lead over his rival, Piotr Ugrumov. He kept the jersey to Paris.
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