What will happen?
A hundred and seventy eight riders will start the time trial in Cholet. And after they’ve all ridden 29.5 kilometres, the podium girls will present Fabian Cancellara with a bouquet of flowers.
Is it really that cut and dried?
David Millar would like to think not. But it has to be said, Cancellara is the outstanding favourite. Millar will hope for an off-day from the Swiss rider. If he can’t get the yellow jersey today perhaps he can ease himself into a position ahead of Valverde. That way he could grab the yellow jersey at Super Besse on Thursday – although he’ll need his climbing legs on.
His kind of course then is it?
There are opportunities to really hit top speed, yes. The outward leg was into a pretty stiff headwind when CW rode the course this morning but it’s dropped a little as the day has worn on. It’s not pan flat by any means – there’s a stiff-ish climb with 15 kilometres to go, but once they turn for home they should benefit from the tailwind and reach some very high speeds.
Will Feillu stay in yellow?
He has a lead of 1-46 over David Millar and 1-52 over Cancellara. Feillu is not a noted time triallist by any means so that may not be enough. It’s going to be touch and go. When the big engines are roaring, suddenly even a couple of minutes feels like very flimsy defence indeed.
The big questions are:
How will Alejandro Valverde, who won a 33-kilometre time trial at the Dauphine Libere last month, get on? Can David Millar do enough to hold off Cancellara? And which of the big favourites will have a shocker? Because there’s bound to be one.
When are the big names off?
All UK times
13.08 Mark Cavendish (Team Columbia)
13.42 Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis)
14.08 Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas)
14.14 Denis Menchov (Rabobank)
14.20 Riccardo Ricco (Saunier Duval)
14.30 Jose Ivan Gutierrez (Caisse d’Epargne)
14.42 Thomas Lovkvist (Team Columbia)
14.48 Damiano Cunego (Lampre)
14.50 Fabian Cancellara (CSC)
14.54 Stijn Devolder (Quick Step)
15.02 Marzio Bruseghin (Lampre)
15.20 George Hincapie (Team Columbia)
15.30 Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole)
15.40 Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto)
15.42 David Millar (Garmin-Chipotle)
15.50 Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d’Epargne)
15.56 Romain Feillu (Agritubel)
Who’s wearing the jerseys
Yellow Romain Feillu (Agritubel)
Green Kim Kirchen (Team Columbia)
Polka-dot Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom)
White Romain Feillu (Agritubel)
Paolo Longo Borghini (Barloworld) will wear the white jersey today
CW’s tip for the win
Fabian Cancellara. We’ll eat a hat of your choosing if he doesn’t win.
It’s been dry so far and the day started with a strong wind blowing from the west, which means a headwind on the outward leg of the course.