VIDEO: Tour de France Stage 17 preview
AFP/The Local · 17 Jul 2013, 08:25
Published: 17 Jul 2013 08:25 GMT+02:00
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The 32-kilometre time-trial takes the riders from the town of Embrun, at the eastern end of the artificial Lake Serre-Poncon in the Alps, to the village of Chorges via two second-category climbs, the Cote de Puy-Sanieres and the Cote de Reallon.
Germany's Tony Martin, the two-time world time-trial champion, has dominated the discipline recently, with his stunning time at Mont-Saint-Michel in last week's 11th stage recorded as the third-fastest in Tour history.
Only overall race leader Chris Froome came anywhere close to Martin on that occasion, but this time around the nature of the route means the Team Sky rider is the clear favourite to record his third stage win so far.
The two challenging climbs are likely to rule out Martin and present Froome with another chance to show off his ascending skills following his dominant wins at Ax-Trois-Domaines and on Mont Ventoux.
Alberto Contador will expect to feature strongly too, while Colombian expert climber Nairo Quintana may also be a decent bet to do well.
However, the weather could have a significant role to play too, with fine and dry conditions early in the day expected to give way to heavy rain and thunderstorms as the afternoon progresses.
That means the late starters' chances could be severely compromised if they are not comfortable on the downhills.
The first rider off the ramp on Wednesday will be the Canadian Svein Tuft, last in the general classification, at 10.17am, with yellow jersey wearer Froome last to go at 2.33pm.
The following is a video preview of stage 17, from Global Cycling Network.