Tour de France 2011: Reduction in time trial kilometres is good for Jurgen Van den Broeck, says OmegaPharma-Lotto boss
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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tour de France 2011: Reduction in time trial kilometres is good for Jurgen Van den Broeck, says OmegaPharma-Lotto boss

by Ben Atkins at 10:21 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
Race route looks good for Belgium’s latest Tour hope

jurgen van den broeckWith the number of individual time trial kilometres reduced to just 41 in the 2011 Tour de France, the course looks to favour the climbers even more than last year. This works in the favour of last year’s fifth place, Jurgen Van de Broeck (OmegaPharma-Lotto), according to his team manager Marc Sergeant.

“The competition will be very nervous right from the first stages, with small climbs close to the finishes,” said Sergeant to Belga after the Tour’s route presentation in Paris. “It will be difficult for the sprinters’ teams to control. The team strategies will probably be different with the changes made to the rules for the points jersey.

“For Jurgen Van den Broeck the reduction in the amount of time trial riding is a good thing; that was his weak point.”

Last year’s 52km penultimate stage time trial saw Van den Broeck lose 7’10” to stage winner Fabian Cancellara; more importantly though, he lost 3’19” and 1’19” to overall classification rivals Denis Menchov and Samuel Sanchez, putting an end to any hopes of making the final podium in Paris.

The shorter length of the 41km Grenoble time trial in 2011, as well as it’s expected hillier route, should see the Belgian lose less time on his competitors; he may even gain a little.

Van den Broeck’s problem will likely not be the individual time trial on the penultimate stage, but the 23km team time trial on day two; the team race against the clock is traditionally the Belgian team’s Achilles heel.

In 2009, the last time the team time trial featured in the race, the team (then called Silence-Lotto) lost 2’35” to the Astana team of eventual race winner Alberto Contador; his put team leader Cadel Evans on the back foot before the race-proper had even started. As it transpired the Australian soon-to-be-World-champion had a bad Tour, eventually finishing in 29th place, but the loss of such a huge amount of time so early on made his job much tougher.

This year’s shorter, 23km TTT course should see OmegaPharma-Lotto lose much less time to the specialists though, putting Van de Broeck in a far less disadvantageous position. In addition, there have been so many changes to the dominant team time trialling squads for 2011, it’s tough to make too many predictions as to the likely winners and losers.

In any case, Van den Broeck will hope be able to use the four mountaintop finishes, as well as the other hilly stages, to make up any lost time to many of those rivals.

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