The Contre La Montre

By Allison Atkinson – July 1, 2013

The Contre La Montre, or "race of truth," refers to the individual time trial. Stage seventeen of Le Tour de France consisted of a hilly and technical 32K course that had many teams on the fence wondering if the use of a time trial (TT) bike would be at all advantageous. TT bikes focus on aerodynamics and have a different geometry from basic road bikes. Overall position on a TT bike is forward and low, cutting down on wind resistance; however, they are not designed for climbing.

Although I am not sure of the official number, I’d say 80 percent of the men I saw today in Chorges opted for the road bike/clip-on aerobar setup. Personally, I would go that route too, but it really depends on the individual’s level of comfort on the TT bike as well as his or her style of riding. Other racers, including stage winner Chris Froome, opted to swap their road bikes for TT bikes after completing the first hilly 12K. As awkward as it may seem, it worked for Froome who beat his biggest threat, Alberto Contador (SAXO), by nearly nine seconds. This was Froome’s first TT victory at Le Tour.

The road from Embran to the charming village of Chorges was not without it’s share of bad luck. Jean-Christophe Peraud (AG2R La Mondiale), who was sitting ninth in the general classification, crashed into a barrier with 2K to go to the finish, landing on an already injured shoulder. He is now out of the race.

The race of truth is cycling’s best measure of strength and endurance. With no help from teammates, racers must face whatever weaknesses they have because they will ultimately show themselves in the results. There is no place to hide, however, for the exceptionally strong cyclist; this is the place to shine. Pacing and mental toughness play just as big a role as strength and equipment which, as we saw today, will influence results. Froome proved himself to be the fastest rider in the tour. Unless there is an accident you better believe that he will win the hundredth edition of Le Tour de France.

Till tomorrow, adieu!

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