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Course: The opening 42km of this team time trial will be flat and fast as the course hugs the left bank of the Loire River. A true test of each team’s homogeneity comes in the final 20km, when half a dozen short climbs will challenge each rider’s stamina before a rapid drop into the city of Blois.
History: In a 64km individual time trial from Tours to Blois in 1992, race winner Miguel Induráin averaged 52.349 kph, while the only other time Blois hosted a stage finish (in 1999) Mario Cipollini set the fastest-ever road stage average of 50.355 kph. Maybe in this third-ever Blois stage the TTT record of 54.930 kph (set by Gewiss-Ballan in 1995) will be beaten.
Favorites: The injured Viatcheslav Ekimov will be missed by Armstrong’s Discovery Channel squad, but it still has the power and experience to take a third consecutive Tour TTT victory from Ivan Basso’s Team CSC, Ullrich’s T-Mobile formation, Botero’s Phonak squad and Alejandro Valverde’s Illes Balears men.