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Leadbelly

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Tour de France Stage 2 - Bruxelles Palais Royal > Brussel Atomium TTT (27.6km)

You'll be disappointed to know this preview won't be in Google Translated French.



The stage title is a bit of a give-away, but this is where the stage will be starting. It's currently unknown if the ASO have persuaded the Belgian Royal Family to hold the TT bikes on the start ramp. We can but hope.



This is the route the teams will take through the city. A quick look on streetview shows wide boulevards and avenues, but you never know how they will barricade it (hopefully commonsensically).



The profile is rather exaggerated. Those slopes are ~3% I think.



The finish line will be somewhere in the vicinity of this. Cue jokes about chemistry or balls.
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  • Leadbelly

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    We don't know the teams yet, so no point giving out Leading Lights, but we can look at some of the more recent TTTs to give us an idea of how it might pan out.

    A couple from 2018 first......

    TDF Stage 3 (35.5km) Top-5 (BMC, Sky, Quick-Step, Mitchelton and Sunweb) all covered by 11 seconds. Bigger gaps after that.

    Worlds TTT (62.8km) It was the usual suspects of  Quick-Step, Sunweb and BMC at the top. Don't forget though there was a nasty old climb in the middle of the stage which we obviously won't have in Bruxelles.

    ......and now into 2019.

    Colombia 2.1 Stage 1 (14km) EF won just ahead of Deceunick and INEOS. Bear in mind the time of season and team composition.

    UAE Stage 1 (16km) Jumbo beat a strong Sunweb team. Bahrain in third.

    Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 1 (21.5km) Mitchelton were 12th in UAE, but with a much better suited squad in Italy they did a whole lot better. Jumbo and Sunweb were again on the podium.

    Coppi e Bartali Stage 1b (13.3km) Mitchelton won again, but not a lot to be learnt from this.

    Hammer Stavanager TTT (48.9km) CCC and INEOS were close and then larger gaps, but the nature of the competition means times weren't the be and end all.

    Hammer Limburg TTT (49.6km) Mitchelton repeated their trick from UAE-TA. 1m46 down on CCC in Norway, but a short while later beat the Polish team by 16s to take the win here.
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  • Drummer Boy

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    I had never even heard of the Atomium until search's Stage One preview.  :P

    Should make for some entertaining camera work though.

    Interesting looking route. I hope no significant gaps are formed in the GC though. Having a TTT at such an early stage is risky because it can affect the composition of the race without offering a true test between individuals.

    I'll save my annual rant against TT bikes, and how I desperately wish the teams were required to use road bikes instead...

    Actually, it's too late. I've already started!
    I just don't see the point of forcing riders onto machines that they train so little on. If TTT bikes are faster than road bikes, then what is the point if everyone is using them? It's not good for the sport when the inevitable mishaps cause the top riders in the world to look like rank amateurs. Veering off turns, crashing with no obstacles in sight, taking down their own teammates—most of the more visible and circus-like disasters wouldn't be occurring with road bikes.

    Let them shine, let them be at their best...let them stay upright!  :D

    I'd like to see less of this...



    and more of this.


    Is it too much to ask for?
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  • Leadbelly

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    A quick look on streetview shows wide boulevards and avenues, but you never know how they will barricade it (hopefully commonsensically).

    I naturally can't find it now, but I did see a YouTube video which showed the last few km and it does get a bit more complicated in that section. A few sharp corners and a narrow one-lane route through the park around the Atomium.

    Should make for some entertaining camera work though.

    Speaking of cameras. Will we miss out on heli shots of the end of stage 1 and start of stage 2 due to flight restrictions in the area? I'm sure I read about it.
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  • LukasCPH

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    I had never even heard of the Atomium until search's Stage One preview.  :P
    :o

    I'll save my annual rant against TT bikes, and how I desperately wish the teams were required to use road bikes instead...
    Fully agree with the rant.

    Speaking of cameras. Will we miss out on heli shots of the end of stage 1 and start of stage 2 due to flight restrictions in the area? I'm sure I read about it.
    Hm. If this were any other race, I'd say yes. But with the Tour, they're not unlikely to make an exception even from that rule.
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    Views presented are my own. RIP Keith & Sean

    Leadbelly

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    Let's assume we don't have a crash-fest on stage 1......

    :onfire1 :onfire1 :onfire1

    #jumbo

    First and second in the two WT TTTs this year. Lots of big engines in the team. Groenewegen likely to be dropped, so we could see Teunissen in yellow or maybe even Van Aert.

    :onfire1 :onfire1

    #mitchelton
    #bahrain
    #ineos
    #sunweb

    Mitchelton usually get it right on the night. No Dumoulin of course for Sunweb, but they still have a very strong squad for this event.

    :onfire1

    #bora
    #astana
    #deceuninck
    #ef
    #ccc

    Deceuninck are the reigning World TTT champs, but they are a bit weaker now. Of that winning team, only two will be riding. EF riders in general have been putting in some vastly improved ITTs, but we haven't seen that in the team versions yet.

    :dizzy

    #arkea
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  • Leadbelly

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    Teunissen in yellow one stage earlier than I thought.

    No bonus seconds at the intermediate today (what's that all about) means he enjoys a four second lead over his nearest realistic challenger Sagan/Bora. Everybody else is at ten seconds, which isn't much, but as we saw in last year's TTT, the gaps can be very small and those seconds could be crucial.
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  • Leadbelly

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    Weather for Bruxelles tomorrow:



    Going by that (avg wind speed increasing slightly though the day) it may very fractionally favour earlier starters (Ineos are off first), but I don't see it really effecting the outcome much.
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  • Leadbelly

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    Start order and times:

    14:30:00 TEAM INEOS
    14:35:00 TEAM ARKEA – SAMSIC
    14:40:00 ASTANA PRO TEAM
    14:45:00 GROUPAMA – FDJ
    14:50:00 AG2R LA MONDIALE
    14:55:00 MOVISTAR TEAM
    15:00:00 TOTAL DIRECT ENERGIE
    15:05:00 CCC TEAM
    15:10:00 UAE TEAM EMIRATES
    15:15:00 TREK – SEGAFREDO
    15:20:00 TEAM KATUSHA ALPECIN
    15:25:00 COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS
    15:30:00 TEAM DIMENSION DATA
    15:35:00 TEAM SUNWEB
    15:40:00 BORA – HANSGROHE
    15:45:00 LOTTO SOUDAL
    15:50:00 MITCHELTON – SCOTT
    15:55:00 BAHRAIN – MERIDA
    16:00:00 EF EDUCATION FIRST
    16:05:00 DECEUNINCK – QUICK – STEP
    16:10:00 WANTY – GOBERT CYCLING TEAM
    16:15:00 TEAM JUMBO – VISMA
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  • LukasCPH

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    No bonus seconds at the intermediate today (what's that all about)
    My guess is that you can give out time bonifications only at one kind of intermediate sprints - either the regular ones (like most other races do), or the top of selected climbs (like the Tour does this year - but not at both.
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  • Drummer Boy

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    Groenewegen likely to be dropped, so we could see Teunissen in yellow or maybe even Van Aert.

    Teunissen in yellow one stage earlier than I thought.

    I'll say!  :cool





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  • Drummer Boy

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    Leadbelly

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    Ain't no stopping the Jumbo train.

    Big performances from Katusha, Groupama and Cofidis. Mitchelton probably the most disappointed in terms of what they might have expected beforehand.
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  • Joelsim

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    How on earth have Jumbo improved so much at TTs so quickly?
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  • Leadbelly

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    How on earth have Jumbo improved so much at TTs so quickly?

    Tony Martin, Van Aert and De Plus might have something to do with it.

    Not that the team were a complete bunch of no-hopers before that, but the chump to champ ratio is now definitely in favour of the latter. Compare it to last year when they had to rely on time-trialling luminaries such as Tolhoek and Gesink in the Tour TTT.
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  • PeteFromLeeds

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    Great to see Teunissen continue his stint in yellow, Jumbo smashed it out the park today.
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  • edwin in the swimming pool

    Drummer Boy

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    How on earth have Jumbo improved so much at TTs so quickly?

    Haven't you heard?

    The Yellow Jersey gives you wings.

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  • Drummer Boy

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    This is one improvement to the coverage of the sport that I'm really enjoying.  :cool

    Tour de France 2019
    Velon - STAGE TWO HIGHLIGHTS - Velon
    https://twitter.com/VelonCC/status/1147912083738103812

    https://twitter.com/VelonCC/status/1147950913329475586

    https://twitter.com/VelonCC/status/1147915839368249344

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  • Drummer Boy

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    https://twitter.com/friebos/status/1147924811479470080

    Quote
    Daniel Friebe
    ‏@friebos

    Asked Jumbo-Visma boffin Mathieu Heijboer when they started working towards today, thinking he’d say January or something similar.

    Him: "2015"

     #jumbo :win #jumbo :win #jumbo :win #jumbo
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  • Drummer Boy

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    Speaking of...




    I have to say, Johan Bruyneel's predictions ahead of Stage Two were uncannily accurate.  :shh

    There are five minutes or so that are really worth listening to here, starting @ 22:35.

    https://soundcloud.com/user-411867241/2019-tour-de-france-johan-and-jb-show

    FWIW, his pick for the overall?

    Spoiler (hover to show)
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