Today is the second last stage of the Tour de France which is a 36 km time trial. For the top 2 every second will count as a 57 second gap could quite easily be squandered if you don't perform. I know it is somewhat of a custom that on the last day you don't attack the leader but if there are only seconds between them tomorrow they have to race.
The time trial bikes have the latest technology to trim the seconds of the course where possible.
I do believe that some of the traditions were pushed by Lance Armstrong when he dominated the Tour. There have been attacks over the years so I believe it was enforced by the bully Armstrong. Who can forget Greg LeMond beating Laurent Fignon on the Champs Elysses by 8 seconds in 1989. Fignon had 58 seconds then and Roglic has 57 seconds now. Everyone expected the Frenchmen to win back then and it was exciting for the rest of the world but a nightmare for the French.
Night before time trial with specialised fittings for skin suits.
Last night Le Coq Sportif as the kit provider for the Tour de France offed a personal fitting service. seamstresses arrived and fitted every rider out personally making sure the skin tight suits fit perfectly. Providing such a personal service shows you how important these skin suits really are.
Firstly the riders are measured up with exact measurements by two seamstresses. Once they have the measurements two model makers and a prototypist then make the suits from scratch. Once they have been made they then do a final fitting on the bike with nips and tucks making it a perfect fit.
So much detail to the things that will make a difference shows you how professional this sport has become. Taking time not only on the bike specifications with specially designed wheels and handlebars to helmets and now racing suits.
Where the time trial starts.
What was interesting to see is the top two riders have gone for different type race suits with Roglic choosing short sleeves and Pogačar a long sleeve suit. Both riders are from Slovenia and the last time these two fought a time trial Pogačar won by a margin of 8 seconds. He needs quite a bit more and it is not out of the question as it is on the day and how you perform. Pogacar has nothing to lose and I expect this to be close.
Not a flat race so this is going to possibly change the overall result. This is something that we don't know what to expect and will make for fascinating viewing.
Tomorrow may be a humdinger finish in Paris depending on what happens today which is great for the sport as there is nothing worse than just going through the motions. The last few years the race was over days before the finish so everyone deserves a tight finish this year. I don't know how the French will limit only 5 000 spectators at the finish as the Champs Elysses is also so accessible with residents and businesses lining it.