In today’s prologue at the Deutschland Tour, the riders will take it in turns to race against the clock in Weimar.
The course, described by the official race roadbook as “crisp”, counts four slick right-hand turns, forming an almost perfect square around the city’s National Assembly.
The distance? Just 2.6km.
So short is the stage that the race organisers predict a finishing time of around three minutes, meaning the riders will likely spend longer struggling into their skinsuits beforehand.
Race director Fabian Wegmann told Cycling Weekly he believes the prologue will make for an exciting start to the five-day race. “In the last few years we’ve had a team presentation, and I know as a former rider that you sit in the car, you have to go to the presentation, but actually you want to sit on your bike the day before.
“I think a short prologue is the perfect way to present every rider,” Wegmann added. “We have 120 riders, so it’s two hours of racing and fun. It’s not only good for the riders, it’s also good for the spectators.”
For those taking the start line in the prologue, there’s a small catch - they have to race on their normal road bikes. This is because many teams will have come directly from other races, Wegmann explains, so the organisers wanted to reduce the hassle of carrying and preparing specialist TT bikes.
“I think, for most of the riders, it’s easier and faster to ride on a normal street bike than on a TT bike for the short prologue,” said Wegmann. “Pippo Ganna is here and I expect a lot from him, but I think 2.6km is not too long so also the sprinters can do well.”
One rider hoping to stand out in Weimar is Yves Lampaert (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl). The two-time Belgian champion is no stranger to short time trials, having won his first Tour de France stage last month with a blistering ride on the first day in Copenhagen.
“It’s quite a short day,” Lampaert told Cycling Weekly ahead of the Deutschland Tour prologue. “Nevertheless, it’ll be a very hard three or four minutes race.
“Before my time trial I will do the same warm-up like I always do for a time trial because I feel the best with that. Just make sure the body is warm and ready to go à bloc.
“Still, you need to make sure you don’t explode after the first little bump when it’s still 1.5km to the finish line,” Lampaert added. “I think it’s important that you stick to the wattage you have in mind at the start and hope that you can keep that to the finish line.
“Let’s hope I feel good and I can go full gas.”
Interestingly, this prologue isn’t the shortest race of Lampaert’s professional career. In 2018, he came second to teammate Bob Jungels in a 1.9km prologue time trial at the Tour of Slovakia. The winning time on the day was 2-02, with the Belgian missing out on the victory by a fraction of a second.
The Deutschland Tour prologue starts at 15:43 BST, with riders setting off at one-minute intervals.
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