Cérilly-Saint Amand Montrond, 53km ITT

What will happen?
Put simply, Cadel Evans will get back all the time he lost to Carlos Sastre in the Alps – and some – to win the 2008 Tour de France.

Today is the day of reckoning – the penultimate stage of the 2008 Tour is a 53km test against the clock. As a reminder, the top four in the overall standings currently looks like this:

GENERAL CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE 19
1. Carlos Sastre (Spa) CSC-Saxo Bank

2. Frank Schleck (Lux) CSC-Saxo Bank at 1m 24secs
3. Bernhard Kohl (Ger) Gerolsteiner at 1m 33secs
4. Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence-Lotto at 1m 34secs

Evans is by far and away the best man against the clock in the top four, and will easily make up that 94 second deficit against Sastre. Schleck and Kohl are also not great in time trials, so they are out of the picture.

This is going to be one of the closest Tours ever, and whoever wins the final, overall classification it is going to come down to seconds rather than minutes.

What’s the course like?
There have been several lengthy discussions on internet forums regarding the nature of today’s time trial course. Some are saying that it is twisty and hilly, and will suit Sastre more than Evans.

Not so. CW’s Ed Pickering went around the course with Garmin-Chipotle manager Jonathan Vaughters yesterday, and says that it is one for the rouleurs. It’s a bit draggy, with wide straights and hardly any corners that someone of Evans’ calibre will even have to touch the brakes for.

There’s one small hill about 2/3 of the way in, but the riders will barely even notice its presence.

“It has Evans’ name all over it,” is how Vaughters put it.

What about Dave?
British TT specialist David Millar has had a fairly quiet final week in the Tour, perhaps he’s been saving his energy for today – the course is one that would suit him as much as anyone. He should be on for a top ten ride.

Will Sastre stay in yellow?
No. Sastre should enjoy his last day in yellow. It’ll be Cadel Evans’ after today.

Who’s wearing the jerseys?
Yellow
Carlos Sastre (CSC)
Green Oscar Freire (Rabobank)
Polka-dot Bernhard Kohl (Gerolsteiner)
White Andy Schleck (CSC)

CW’s tip for the win
If Evans is going to win the overall it would be a nice finish for him to do it by winning a stage. In all likelihood he’ll get beaten by one or more of the TT specialists. We reckon the winner will come from one of the following: Christian Vande Velde or Fabian Cancellara. Despite having an ominously relaxed day yesterday, we think that Cancellara has been nailing it too much in the hills for CSC and must be running on empty. We’ll go for Vande Velde.



TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: STAGE REPORTS

Stage 19: Chavanel wins, time trial showdown looms
Stage 18: Burghardt shows that Columbia can win without Cav
Stage 17: Sastre wins on Alpe d’Huez, takes lead
Stage 16: Dessel wins
Stage 15: Schleck takes lead in the Alps
Stage 14: Oscar Freire wins in Digne-les-Bains
Stage 13: Cavendish takes fourth win
Stage 12: Cavendish makes it three
Stage 11: Arvesen wins
Stage 10: Evans takes yellow jersey by one second
Stage nine: Ricco wins in the Pyrenees
Stage eight: Cavendish wins again in Toulouse
Stage seven: Sanchez takes action-packed stage
Stage six: Ricco storms to win
Stage five: Cavendish takes first Tour win
Stage four: Schumacher wins TT and takes race lead
Stage three: Dumoulin wins stage from break
Stage two: Hushovd wins chaotic sprint
Stage one: Valverde wins

TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: NEWS

Schlecks’ father’s car searched
Analysis: tactical battle on L’Alpe d’Huez [stage 17]
Schleck promises to attack main rivals
Schleck ready to defend Tour lead [stage 15]
Rest day news round-up [July 21]
Saunier Duval riders: “We are honest”
Cavendish talks to Cycling Weekly after quitting Tour
Schleck savours first ever Tour de France jersey [stage 15]
Comment: Why Cav is right to go home today
Cavendish pulls out of the Tour
Barloworld to end cycling sponsorship
Ricco speaks on Italian television
Cavendish joins the all-time greats
Saunier Duval sack Ricco and Piepoli
Tour bosses say fight against doping continues
Ricco denies doping at the Tour
Saunier Duval pull out of Tour
Tour’s top ten changes
Ricco positive for EPO at Tour
Analysis: Tour de France rest day summary
Cavendish battles through Pyrenees
Evans suffers but takes yellow jersey [stage 10]
Analysis: Hautacam shakes up 2008 Tour
Ricco silences critics with solo attack in Pyrenees [stage nine]
Cavendish talks about his second stage win [stage eight]
Beltran heads home but doubts remain about other Tour riders
David Millar: the dope controls are working
Manuel Beltran tests positive for EPO at the Tour
Comment: How the Tour rediscovered its spirit
Doping back in Tour de France headlines
Millar: close but no cigar in Super-Besse [stage six]
Super-Besse shows form of main contenders [stage six]
Millar to go for yellow [stage six]
Team Columbia’s reaction to Cavendish’s win [stage five]
Cavendish talks about his Tour stage win
Tour comment: Why Evans should be happy [stage four]
Millar: Still aiming for Tour yellow jersey [stage 4]
Who is Romain Feillu?
Cavendish disappointed with stage two result
Millar too close to Tour yellow jersey
Stage 2 preview: A sprint finish for Cavendish?
Millar happy after gains precious seconds in Plumelec
Valverde delighted with opening Tour stage win
Comment: Is Valverde’s win a good thing for the Tour?

TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: PHOTOS

Stage 18
Stage 17
Stage 15
Stage 14
Stage 13
Stage 12
Stage 11
Stage 11
Stage 10
Stage nine
Stage eight
Stage seven
Stage six
Stage five
Stage four
Stage three
Stage two
Stage one

TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: BLOGS

Life at the Tour part five
Life at the Tour part four
Life at the Tour part three
Life at the Tour part two
Life at the Tour part one

TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: GUIDE

Tour de France 2008 homepage>>
News and features>>
All the riders (start list, list of abandons)>>
Day by day summary>>
Route & stages>>
Teams and riders>>
About the Tour>>