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The 2014 Tour de France Stage 20 Time Trial

July 04, 2014
The 2014 Tour de France Stage 20 Time Trial

Individual Time Trial, Team Time Trial, TT .... We hear a lot about it, but what exactly is it?

An Individual Time Trial is

A set distance that each rider must complete in isolation at the fastest time possible.

What are the Time Trial races in this year’s Tour de France?

There is only one time trial race, the Individual Time Trial, which takes place on the penultimate day of the Tour (Saturday 26th July) and is 54km in distance, from Bergerac to Périgueux.

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What is a Team Time Trial?

There are no Team Time Trials in this year’s Tour de France (although there have been in previous years). A team time trial requires each team to collectively race across a set distance as fast as possible.

What makes a Time Trial race so difficult?

In short – you can’t hide! Racing in a peloton takes a lot of pressure off riders that are not at the head of the bunch. This is because they can draft off whomever is leading and therefore not exert as much effort and energy to keep up the pace. Individual Time Trial eliminates all drafting – the rider is exposed to all the elements and truly races just themselves and the clock.

Why do riders use different bikes and gear during a Time Trial?

It’s all about marginal gains! Riders will opt for aerodynamic ‘TT’ bike frames, which force the cyclist into a more aggressive race position. The helmet is also aerodynamic – its shape is like an upside down tear drop that tapers near the neck. Unless conditions are very windy then riders usually opt for at least a rear disc wheel, again in an effort to make the whole set-up as aerodynamic as possible.

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How do cyclists approach a Time Trial?

A 54km time trial will require each cyclist to think about the whole race, and not just their ‘best leg’. Although this is a race against the clock, riders can’t sprint the whole way through, or they will ‘blow up’ (a terms used to describe when a cyclist has hit the wall or run out of energy). Pace – albeit a very fast one – is essential.