Rohan Dennis (BMC) has said that the Tour de France general classification contenders will have to make a careful choice when picking wheels for Friday's time trial stage with strong winds affecting the route.
TT specialist Dennis set an early fast time on the hilly 37.5km stage 13 test against the clock from Bourg-Saint-Andéol to La Caverne du Pont-d’Arc. Speaking after the finish, the Australian said that the course was tough, particularly given rider fatigue at this stage in the race.
"It's been a tough Tour so far," said Dennis. "Considering it's stage 13, it's a different feeling time trialing with super fatigue, especially when the course is so hard, not just the climbing in general but the wind as well played a huge part.
"I think one major factor for anyone who's going be going for today's stage is what wheels they pick. Some of the smaller guys might not be picking a faster wheel, just because of their weight and not being able to hold the bike."
Deep-section wheels provide an aerodynamic advantage, but are also prone to being caught by crosswinds.
Dennis's time of 51-56 set on Friday morning was subsequently beaten by 10 seconds by Portuguese national time trial champion Nelson Oliveria (Movistar).
Watch: How to beat long time trials
Britain's Steve Cummings (Dimension Data) put in a solid ride to post the third fastest time, 53 seconds down on Oliveria. Former TT world champion Fabian Cancellara (Trek-Segafredo) was off the pace with 53-30, and current TT world champion Vasil Kiryienka (Sky) could only manage a 57-48.
A total of 188 riders are due to start the time trial on Friday. Race leader Chris Froome (Sky) is last man off at 4.39pm local time (3.39pm UK time).
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