Chris Froome favourite for difficult Tour de France stage 17 time trial

Chris Froome, Tour de France 2013, stage 11 TT

The 2013 Tour de France's stage 17 time trial should be a classic test. It's just 32km in the Alps, from Embrun to Chorges, above the Lac de Serre-Poncon, but it contains almost everything.

There is almost no flat road to be found. The two main climbs are ‘only' second category, but in a time trial anyone who underestimates them could end up hemorrhaging time. The first climb of the Côte de Puy-Sanieres is 6.4km at an average gradient of six per cent.

The descent is around the same length and does feature some hairpins. The second climb, the Côte de Reallon is 6.9km at an average gradient of 6.3 per cent. After a false flat at the top it's then a descent all the way down to Chorges. 

It should suit Team Sky's Chris Froome down to the ground - if he'd been asked to design his ideal stage for the middle of the Tour's last week, he'd have come up with something just like it.

The only potential sticking point for him will be the descents, which are a little more on the technical side than he would have liked.

He's prepared for the ride with care, having ridden the course on a couple of occasions, as well as studying a full-length video of it. He's a very firm favourite for the stage and is expected to take more time out of others in the top ten as he did on stage 11 last week.

Froome is expected to ride a road bike with time trial bars and a pair or deep section wheels rather than a rear disk and tri spoke front. The team weren't disclosing exactly what he would be riding when we asked them at the start of stage 16.

What happens behind him might be more interesting. It is exactly the sort of time trial Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) used to gobble up for lunch. But his more recent TT form has been rather shakier.

Bauke Mollema (Belkin) surprised everyone when he finished 10s ahead of the Spaniard in the first, flat time trial to Mont St. Michel, and he'll be aiming to consolidate his second place overall.

The weather is set to change for the race's final days in the Alps. Wednesday's forecast is 26 degrees and thunderstorms in the afternoon, and a light north easterly wind of five kph.

Full Tour de France 2013 stage 17 preview >>

Tour de France 2013: Stage reports

Stage 16: Costa takes solo win as Froome put under pressure

Stage 15: Froome wins on Mont Ventoux to extend lead

Stage 14: Trentin wins from break

Stage 13: Cavendish wins, Valverde loses on stage 13

Stage 12: Kittel out-sprints Cavendish

Stage 11: Martin wins time trial as Froome extends lead

Stage 10: Kittel takes second stage win

Stage nine: Martin wins stage as Froome fights to keep lead

Stage eight: Froome wins Tour mountains stage to take overall lead

Stage seven: Sagan scores first win of 2013 Tour

Stage six: Greipel wins as Impey moves into lead

Stage five: Cavendish wins; Gerrans keeps lead

Stage four: Orica win Tour's team time trial to put Gerrans in yellow

Stage three: Gerrans outpaces Sagan to take win

Stage two: Millar denied yellow as Bakelants takes spoils

Stage one: Kittel wins chaotic opening stage

Tour de France 2013: Podcasts

Podcast 12 (stage 15)

Podcast 11 (Stage 14)

Podcast 10 (stage 13)

Podcast nine (stage 12)

Pedcast eight (stage 11)

Podcast seven (stage 10)

Podcast six (stage nine)

Podcast five (stage eight)

Podcast four (stage six)

Podcast three (stage five)

Podcast two (stage four)

Podcast one (stage one)

Tour de France 2013: Comment, analysis, blogs

Moto blog part two (July 15)

Moto blog part one (July 9)

Lessons learnt by Team Sky after Tour visits Pyrenees

Was Sunday (stage nine) a missed opportunity for Froome's rivals?

Rest day review (July 8)

Tour de France: 100 Tours, 1,000 stories

Tour de France 2013: Photo galleries

Stage 16 by Graham Watson

Stage 15 by Graham Watson

Stage 14 by Graham Watson

Stage 13 by Graham Watson

Stage 12 by Graham Watson

Stage 11 by Graham Watson

Stage 10 by Graham Watson

Stage nine by Andy Jones

Stage nine by Graham Watson

Stage eight by Andy Jones

Stage eight by Graham Watson

Stage seven by Andy Jones

Stage seven by Graham Watson

Stage six by Andy Jones

Stage six by Graham Watson

Stage five by Andy Jones

Stage five by Graham Watson

Stage four by Andy Jones

Stage four by Graham Watson

Stage three by Graham Watson

Stage two by Graham Watson

Stage one by Graham Watson

Team presentation by Graham Watson

Related links

Tour de France 2013: Coverage index

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