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Saturday, July 4, 2009

Stage 1 – Monaco – Individual Time Trial


(above profile pic from letour.fr website)

TDF 2009 foregoes the usual prologue with a 15.5km individual time trial stage. Right from the start there’s a steady climb up towards the Cote de Beausoleil with some sections at six-eight percent gradients and a false flat. Once the top is reached at the 7.5km mark, there’s a decent descent to the finish with a couple of hair-pin bends. At three kilometres to go, it's all pancake.

Because of this profile, many experts don’t expect a traditional time trial technician to romp home today. A rider with visions of themselves in yellow on the Champ-Elysees will hope to strike a psychological blow today with the stage win. Cancellara will still be hard to beat.

From Ride Magazine’s official Tour Guide review of Stage 1:

Stuart O’Grady
"toughest opening time trial that I’ve ever seen in the Tour."
Cadel Evans (on so many riders going to Monaco after Paris-Nice to reccie the Time Trial course)
"it was like a peloton out there..and I can understand why too: it’s important to see what this climb is like and also get a look at the tehnical selections. The winner will be one of the GC guys, someone who can climb and is also willing to take a few risks on the descent."
I would not be surprised if Cadel takes it tonight. If he can beat Cancellara. Not sure about Berty...

Logistical stuff:
SBS One and Two coverage from 11:30 to 4am. SBS is also live streaming all 21 stages.
Weather – 24-25 degrees, afternoon storm.

Some riders to watch and their times (from http://www.cyclingfans.com/) (think I worked out the AEST time right)
12:17 LA (#22)
12:37 Leipheimer (24)
1.56 F Schleck (36)
2:32 Rogers (79)
2: 34 Vande Velde (51)
2:36 A. Schleck (31)
2:58 Kirchen (75)
3:01 Wiggins (58)
3:02 Menchov (41)
3:04 Cancellara (33)
3:05 Contador (21)
3:07 Evans (11)
3:08 Sastre (1)

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