Mikkel Bjerg the new leader at 33’01”. Oooooof. He went all in there at the finish. UAE Team Emirates sent him out early and it seems things have worked.
Here is a map of the course today, by the way. Short enough to suit Alaphilippe. It also suits specialists such as Belgian Victor Campenaerts and Swiss rider Stefan Küng.
Been a disappointing week for Lotto-Soudal, but some sort of encouragement there as Harrison Sweeny becomes our new leader, shaving a few seconds off Kuss’s time with 33’53”. Just to note though, Mikkel Bjerg was 35 seconds quicker than Sweeny at the second check – the Dane is flying.
Mike Teunissen of Jumbo-Visma sets the new fastest time by 11 seconds at 35’22” but Sepp Kuss flies through with a remarkable 33’57”! Wow! We currently have a Jumbo 1-2-3.
Tony Martin speaks after his time trial.
I was going fast but not all in. My body needs to rest after the big crash. For me, it was more of an easy day.
There’s talk of some rain later in the afternoon, which could affect proceedings. Just another variable for the riders to deal with, although all the GC riders are towards the back so will likely have similar conditions at least, even if they are poor/wet.
Froome finishes well outside Martin’s time on 36’20”, nearly 47 seconds outside the lead. Eeeesh. Think it’s fair to say that the former champion is very much using this race as a stepping stone in his recovery. Will be good to see him get involved in some breakaways as the race progresses, but not sure we should expect too much more from him.
Hello world. Tony Martin has now set the pace at 35’33”, he is arguably the first big name to finish, after being hit by the sign a couple of days back. Meanwhile Froom is 2km out and making his way up the final climb. He looks like he might challenge Martin for the lead.
That will be all from me – Michael Butler is here to guide you through the rest of today’s time trial.
Amund Grøndahl Jansen (Team BikeExchange) is the first man to finish, in a time of 37’04”, with an average speed of 44km/h over the 27.2km course. He is almost immediately beaten by Clément Russo of Arkea-Samsic, in 36’10”.
Bernie Eisel, the former Team Sky rider now working for Eurosport, is out on the course on the back of a motorbike, and tells us that he thinks Froome, the four-times champion, is riding well within himself.
Marco Haller (Bahrain Victorious) crosses the second intermediate check in Laval at 17.2km and clocks the fastest time, 22’35”, but is almost immediately dethroned by Martin, who registers 22’17”, in an average speed of 46.3km/h. Very respectable.
All eyes will be on the GC contenders in a couple of hours – how will Primoz Roglic’s body shape up after his heavy crash on stage three? Can Richard Carapaz (Team Ineos) further his claim for outright leadership of that team? And will this undulating route suit the climbing skills of Tadej Pogacar, the champion, of UAE-Team Emirates?
Martin, nicknamed Der Panzerwagen, has perhaps unsurprisingly clocked the fastest time at the first check, 11’58”. Sepp Kuss (Jumbo Visma) has just rolled down the start ramp. There are still 159 riders to start.
Chris Froome (Israel Start Up Nation) and Tony Martin (Jumbo-Visma) are both out on course. Both are traditionally TT specialists, but both are nursing injuries from earlier crashes.
The latest edition of the world’s biggest bike race has crammed seemingly endless drama into its first four stages: a crash-marred opening day when world champion Julian Alaphilippe swapped rainbow stripes for the yellow jersey, Mathieu van der Poel’s memorable Mûr-de-Bretagne success on stage two, yet more crashes on stage three, before Mark Cavendish’s tearful winning return in Fougeres yesterday.
After a stressful, incident-packed opening to the race for the riders, a 27.2km individual time trial may feel like a welcome change from the winding, narrow roads of Brittany. It’s still going to hurt, needless to say, but at least they’ll have the road more or less to themselves in an unusually long ‘Race of Truth’ by the usual standards of the Tour’s first week.
Today’s route includes five ascents considered significant enough to be included on the map, the highest being Louverné, cresting at 104m after 10.9km. Julian Alaphilippe, who currently sits eight seconds behind Mathieu van der Poel in the general classification, has his eyes on reclaiming that famous yellow jersey come this evening. The GC battle has already been shaken up significantly by all those crashes, and a host of names will be hoping to show their form and grab a few seconds on their rivals along the way.