How much time could Wiggins gain in the Tour’s time trials?

Bradley Wiggins (Sky) gained time on all the Tour de France general classification favourites in Saturday’s prologue, putting six seconds into Denis Menchov (Katusha) and 10 seconds into Cadel Evans (BMC Racing).

Of the contenders, Fränk Schleck (RadioShack-Nissan) lost the most time finishing 38 seconds behind Wiggins. We calculated the riders’ average speeds in the prologue and extrapolated for the  two long time trials still to come in this year’s race: stage 9: 41.5km and stage 19: 53.5km.

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The calculations produced some big gaps, but it’s important to remember this is a very rough calculation. In the next two time trials, 41.5km to Besançcon next Monday and 53.5km to Chartres in stage 19, the average speeds will lower and riders’ physical and mental states may have changed a great deal. However, the calculations still make for interesting viewing.

2nd Bradley Wiggins (Sky) at 7 seconds
Prologue – 7-20 minutes
Stage 9 (predicted) – 47-33 minutes
Stage 19 (predicted) – 1h01-18 minutes

Wiggins recorded 7-20 minutes over 6.4km today. He topped his rivals and can afford to ride defensively in the mountains. Based on the calculations he’d cover the two coming time trials in 47-33 minutes for stage nine and 1h01-18 minutes for stage 19.

The times here may well be skewed by Wiggins ability over short distances. Although he is obviously a fine time trialler, he is better atshort time trials than others due to his history on the track. He is a two time Olympic individual pursuit champion and one-time Olympic team pursuit champion. In other words, he’s very good at this sort of thing. 

8th Denis Menchov (Katusha) at 13 seconds
Prologue – 7-26
Stage 9 (predicted) – 48-12
Stage 19 (predicted) – 1h02-08

The Russian winner of the 2009 Giro d’Italia rode a good prologue, finishing eighth. He too will be able to ride defensively in the mountains but needs to make up the time he’s projected to lose to Wiggins. In the first long TT, he stands to lose around 45 seconds and 50 seconds in the last TT. However, the Russian has done little this year to suggest he can hold his form for three weeks. 

12th Peter Velits (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) at 17 seconds
Prologue – 7-30
Stage 9 (predicted) – 48-37
Stage 19 (predicted) – 1h02-41

Velits is time trialling himself towards a podium finish based on these calculations. He’ll need to defend himself against attacks from Nibali and Evans to protect his TT gains.

13th Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) at 17 seconds
Prologue – 7-30
Stage 9 (predicted) – 48-37
Stage 19 (predicted) – 1h02-41

Evans should ride well in the next two, longer time trials. His ride in the final tt in Grenoble last year was proof that he can hold his power output to the end of a grand tour. He said yesterday, “There is more time trialling, so on paper – with less selective climbs and one less mountaintop finish – the climbs become even more important.”

14th Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale), at 18 seconds
Prologue – 7-31
Stage 9 (predicted) – 48-44
Stage 19 (predicted) – 1h02-50

Nibali lost 11 seconds to Wiggins today. Given this, he’s predicted to lose around 2-30 minutes over the next two time trials. “I’m pleased with the result today,” he said in a press release. “I expected those losses to Wiggins.”

15th Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) at 18 seconds
Prologue – 7-31
Stage 9 (predicted) – 48-44
Stage 19 (predicted) – 1h02-50

The Giro d’Italia champion hasn’t raced since winning the pink jersey in Milan, and considering he prefers the longer time trials and long climbs so to lose just 18 seconds around Liege was an encouragning start for him. He may gain time in the climbs, and would need only 16 seconds to reach Velits and the podium.

65th Robert Gesink (Rabobank) at 25 seconds
Prologue – 7-39
Stage 9 (predicted) – 49-36
Stage 19 (predicted) – 1h03-56

Gesink lost four minutes in the final time trial in Grenoble at last year’s Tour, but the lanky Dutchman has improved this year. He might be disappointed at giving away this much time though.

77th Jurgen Van den Broeck (Lotto-Belisol) at 28 seconds
Prologue – 7-41,
Stage 9 (predicted) – 49-49
Stage 19 (predicted) – 1h04-13

It’s hard to predict what the Belgian is going to do. At the Criterium du Dauphiné in June he lost just two minutes 22 seconds to Wiggins in the 53.3km time trial, a lot better than what’s predictied in the Tour’s time trials. He’ll need to continue to hold his ground and look for small gains in the mountains.

80th Levi Leipheimer (OmegaPharma-Quick Step) at 28 seconds
Prologue – 7-41
Stage 9 (predicted) – 49-49
Stage 19 (predicted) – 1h04-13

Leipheimer’s ride was disappointing, but not that surprising. When he was riding for Gerolsteiner his tt’ing performances were average, when he rode for Discovery channel suddenly his performances against the clock were some of the best in the world.

He’s still recovering from a broken leg and and the chances are his performances this year will be similar to his rides when he was with Gerolsteiner. The American was third in the Tour de Suisse last month, but there’s little to suggest he will be a threat.

136th Fränk Schleck (RadioShack-Nissan) at 38 seconds
Prologue – 7-51
Stage 9 (predicted) – 50-54
Stage 19 (predicted) – 1h05-37

Yet another woeful time trial by the RadioShack leader who stands to lose another 7-30 minutes to Wiggins over the two time trials He admitted he’s in no shape to win this race, so may use the mountains to gain time and win a stage.

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