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If there’s ever going to be a course that favors someone beating Greg LeMond’s Tour time-trial speed record of 54.545 kph (33.892 mph), this is it. Starting at the old fishing port of Pornic on the Atlantic coast, the 49km route heads due east on flat, wide roads, with very few turns. If the prevailing west wind is blowing, riders will be able to pedal 55- or 56-tooth chainrings all the way.
7/26/2003 Start Time: 10:45:00am
7/26/2003 Estimated Finish Time: 5:03:00pm
Three previous Tour time trials have finished in Nantes. Two were on rolling point-to-point courses starting at towns north of Nantes and so were subject to crosswinds. Both went to men who previously were world pursuit champions on the track: Frenchman Roger Rivière in 1959 (45km at 47.911 kph) and Dutchman Bert Oosterbosch in 1983 (58.5km at 44.824 kph). The other, in 1986, was on a 61.5km loop course that was won by fivetime Tour champ Bernard Hinault at 46.847 kph (before aero bars). The runner-up was his teammate Le- Mond, who lost most of his 44 seconds when he flatted.