Tour de France

Nice plays host to TDF TTT

2013-07-02 13:15
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2013-06-26 13:29

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Nice - The 100th Tour de France hits the French mainland for the first time on Tuesday, with the south-coast city of Nice hosting the fourth stage of this year's race.

The short 25km team time-trial is due to get underway at 15:15, with the flat route finishing on the city's famous Promenade des Anglais waterfront.

After the first three stages, all held on the Mediterranean island of Corsica, were completed under blazing sunshine, conditions are once again set to be perfect for all 22 teams taking part, with clear skies and temperatures around 23 degrees Celsius.

The 196 riders who completed the Corsican section of the Tour all travelled to the Cote d'Azur by plane from Calvi on Monday evening before preparing for the ride around Nice, which has welcomed the Tour 35 times in all but not since the "Grand Depart" of 1981.

The Belgian Freddy Maertens won the first stage of that year's race on the Promenade des Anglais and another Belgian, Jan Bakelants, will start Tuesday's team time-trial in the overall race leader's yellow jersey.

He sits one second clear of the chasing pack in the general classification after winning Sunday's second stage from Bastia to Ajaccio, before Australia's Simon Gerrans of Orica-GreenEdge won Monday's ride up Corsica's west coast to Calvi.

Bakelants, of the RadioShack-Leopard team, is unlikely to still be wearing yellow at the end of Tuesday's stage, however.

It could be a good day for British riders on the Promenade des Anglais, with Mark Cavendish's Omega Pharma-QuickStep team and race favourite Chris Froome's Team Sky both expected to perform well.

Froome, who is based in nearby Monaco, may be especially eager to impress, but his team has been undermined by the injury suffered to Geraint Thomas, with the Welshman struggling through the last couple of days with a fractured pelvis.

Omega Pharma are also under strength with time-trial specialist Tony Martin still recovering from a nasty fall during Saturday's first stage.

David Millar's Garmin-Sharp outfit will be among those looking to take full advantage.

Read more on:    tdf  |  cycling

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