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June 28 post: The Tour de France has a love/hate relationship with the team time trial. Unlike, the Giro d'Italia which has had a team time trial every year since 2006, this will only be the second TTT at the Tour de France in the same time span.

In the past, the TTT has dealt a severe blow to the GC ambitions of some riders (often French) on lesser teams. As a compromise, this will be short team time trial. Long enough to demonstrate how cycling works as a team sport, but short enough that the teams with less time-trialing depth will not suffer greatly. The last three TTTs at the Tour (2005, 2009 and 2011) were 67.5 km, 39 km and now 23 km in length, respectively, so you see where the trend is heading. Barring a crash, Euskaltel-Euskadi and Samual Sanchez shouldn't lose more than 90 seconds.

Speaking of crashes, you may recall that the 2005 Stage 4 TTT saw Dave Zabriskie hit the deck while wearing the Yellow Jersey. That was just two days after the Tour last visited Les Essarts for a road stage which will be hosting this year's TTT.

Aside from being 23 km long as mentioned, the course is flat, wide, not very technical and the winds could be a factor. RadioShack, Sky, HTC-Highroad and Garmin-Cervelo along with BMC Racing and Rabobank should post the best times. Leopard-Trek's Fabian Cancellara will limit the losses of the Schleck Brothers. The team that wins this stage will likely win the second Yellow Jersey. — Steve
Update: @joelindsey: TTT weather forecast: highs 73-77F, winds steady out of N-NE at 19mph, gusting to 30. Also, as @OptaJim tweeted, the last 4 #tdf containing a team time trial have seen the race winner’s team win the TTT (2009, 2005, 2004, 2003).
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