Today’s stage is obviously a big chance for the stronger time triallers such as Bradley Wiggins and Cadel Evans to put time into those GC riders who are weaker against the clock, and there is bound to be some shake-up in the overall standings by the end of the day. As ever, there is a race within a race, however, with Fabian Cancellara and Tony Martin in particular looking to hone their form ahead with the Olympic time trial less than four weeks away.
Capital of the Franche-Comté region and birthplace of people such as the writer Victor Hugo and chef Raymond Blanc, Besançon is also – appropriately, given the nature of this stage – the centre of France’s watchmaking industry. The town may also seem familiar to younger Australian riders, even if they’ve never visited before – it’s where the Touché series of textbooks, widely used in French classes in schools Down Under, is set.
Geraint Thomas says: Brad will be up for this stage for sure and I think for the stage win it’s a three horse race between him, Tony Martin and Fabian Cancellara. Tony and Fabian are both coming back from injuries but they are getting stronger all the time so I think they will be good. Brad will just be looking to take as much time as he can and I think he could have a stronger grip on the jersey by the end of the day. Out of the GC riders it’s only Cadel Evans who could be on a par with him. This year he hasn’t really got to that level yet, but he’ll be improving all the way through the Tour.
To find out more about this year's race check out our full 2012 Tour de France Preview with analysis of every stage and tips from Geraint Thomas
Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.