The Tour de France serves the first of two time trials on the fifth day of action. At 27.2 kilometres, the predominantly flat race is the first real test for the GC contenders. And, obviously, an opportunity for time trialists to shine.
It is a first for Changé. Never before La Grande Boucle visited the place in the Mayenne department, just outside Brittany.
As the crow flies start and finish are just 5 kilometers away, but the riders make a detour so that the race adds up to 27.2 kilometres. The intermediate time checks appear at kilometre 8.8 and 17.2.
It really is a course for pure specialists who can push a big gear, although there are some uphill sections also – three, to be precise, with gradients hovering around 4%. With stretches at 7%, the hardest hill appears shortly after the start.
Laval hosted the Tour de France before, but is has been awhile. We have to go as far back as 1999, when Tom Steels outsprinted Erik Zabel and Stuart O’Grady.
A sprint finish will not happen on Wednesday 30 June, the likes of Stefan Küng will have it their way on the route between Changé and Laval.
The first rider, Amund Grøndahl Jansen, starts at 12.15 and yellow jersey Mathieu van der Poel is expected to finish at 17.22 local time (CEST).