In the Tour de France 2018 there will be 21 different stages, which will vary in types of terrain and distance. One of the most important stages for many teams, however, will be the Team Time Trial stage.
Notably absent from last year’s race, the TTT often gives us a good clue of which team, and therefore which GC contender, will win the Tour de France overall.
This means that learning about the Team Time Trial stage is not only important if you’re planning on watching the Tour de France 2018, but also if you’re planning on backing a rider to be named the winner too.
The TTT will be the third stage of this year’s event too, which means that understanding the basics of it could help you identify the strongest riders early on.
What is the Team Time Trial Stage?
A Team Time Trial is a race against the clock, in which each team rides together and each team start five minutes apart from each other.
Each of the competing Tour de France 2018 teams must start the TTT with all their riders, and each team’s time will be taken from the point at which the fifth rider of each team crosses the line. To win a TTT, therefore, teams must have a clear strategy and work together to ensure they are as quick as possible.
The Team Time Trial Stage in Tour de France History
As we’ve just mentioned, there was no TTT in the 2017 Tour de France yet this isn’t so surprising.
The Team Time Trial stage was first introduced into the Tour de France race in the 1930s yet they are not included every year, to give the event some variety. In this century, there have been 10 team time trials at the Tour, with the first six being between 2000 and 2005.
Doing well in the TTT is a good indicator that a GC contender will win the Tour overall. The last TTT to be held was in 2015, where it was won by BMC Racing, yet falling just one second behind were Team Sky, who’s GC contender Chris Froome went on to win the Tour.
The last TTT to be held which was over 30km long (like this year’s TTT) was in 2009 and it was won by the Astana team, which included eventual race winner Alberto Contador.
When and Where Will the Tour de France 2018 Team Time Trial Stage Take Place?
In the Tour de France 2018, the TTT will make up the third stage of the event, and it is to be held in Cholet. The TTT will take place on the 9th of July and it will be 35km long (22 miles).
This makes it over 10km longer than the most recent TTT’s at the Tour de France, thus making it all the more significant this year.
The TTT begins in the centre of Cholet, where the riders will be able to enjoy wide boulevards.
However, this year’s TTT will also include several climbs and sharp curves, yet on the whole it looks to be a stage which both specialists teams, BMC Racing and Team Sky, will be able to complete with ease.