Time trial specialists like Rohan Dennis who have already taken to the course and warned about how important wheel choice will be for those light GC riders. But Knaven says it won’t be a problem for race leader Froome, particularly as it will make the course climbs harder.
“The wind is really tricky out there,” said Knaven. “I was following Ian Stannard and sometimes its sheltered and then you come out of a corner and its open and you get the wind from the side, so its really dangerous.
“I already heard of one rider who crashed and is out after being caught by the wind. It’s is a really tricky day today.”
“I think the heavier you are the less problems you’ll have. I think in general looking back in the past he [Froome] was always one of the top GC guys in the time trial and it didn’t really matter what type of course it was.
“This course suits Froomey and I think the climbs are long and you will need to have a lot of power on those climbs and the wind will make those climbs even harder.”
A number of riders have already faced the course with a less traditional individual time trial setup with shallower wheels to have more control in the wind, with some other DSs saying it’s a necessary precaution for riders who won’t need to be going hard in windy time trials.
“For the most part it’s the wheel choice,” said Trek-Segafredo manager Luca Guercilena.
“If someone is really good at riding the bike with a deep profile wheels and someone is not then the choice is to use a smaller front wheel.”
“For some the disc wheel is probably too much, especially because if you don’t really need to go deep its better to take a safe setup and you can ride the bike better. So that’s what will affect the riders most.
“For sure someone like Fabian Cancellara is a heavy guy so he doesn’t suffer that much in the wind, but anyway Bauke Mollema isn’t that bad in the wind and he’ll like it.”
Riders who have already completed the course have reported how tough some of the exposed parts are, with Bora-Argon18’s Sam Bennett, the first rider off the start ramp, saying how hard it was to stop safely on some of the faster sections of the course.
Some riders have reportedly even switched to road bikes to make sure they complete the stage safely.
“It’s a little bit dangerous but I had the 40mm wheel on the font, much smaller [than usual] so had more control and bit more confidence.
“But there’s a few places that I nearly got caught out, a few tight left-handers and bumps in the road that you just can’t see.
“It’s a bit dangerous round there and I wouldn’t be surprised if someone crashes today.
“There’s a few fast parts as well, I was doing 90kmph on the downhill with out pedaling and then trying to stop was hard but I’d think Cancellara and that would go over 100kmph.”
Nelson Oliveira (Movistar) is currently the fastest rider with the GC contenders yet to take to the start.