After the chaos that was Stage 12 and a shortened climb up Mont Ventoux, a Stage 13 time trial Friday should give everyone at the Tour de France (fans included) a chance to catch their breath. That isn't to say it won't be an important day of racing, but after two straight days of claustrophobic pelotons, fan meddling and crashes, riders may enjoy being out on the road by their lonesome, not having to worry about anything getting in the way.
Because there are a lot of riders to get through, racing will begin at 3:45 a.m. ET. NBCSN won't begin broadcasting the stage until 7:30 a.m., but riders go off in reverse order of standing so the network will show the biggest names leaving the starting blocks. Streaming will begin at 8:10 a.m. for those who have a subscription to NBC Sports Gold.
The time trial course is a tricky one. It starts on a not-insignifcant climb, and features what appears to be a steep descent a little more than halfway through the 37.5-kilometer ride from Bourg-Saint-Andéol to La Caverne du Pont-d'Arc. The classic chrono-men are in contention to win the stage: Tony Martin, Tom Dumoulin, Rohan Dennis and Fabian Cancellara are all names to watch.
Among general classification contenders, current yellow jersey bearer Chris Froome is considered one of the better time trialists, and may be able to solidify his lead. Daniel Martin, Richie Porte, Tejay Van Garderen and, supposedly, Nairo Quintana, are all expected to perform well. Some of the pure climbers like Romain Bardet and Fabio Aru could suffer.
Thank goodness for what should be a crash-free day.
Map and profile courtesy of the Tour's official site.
Tour de France coverage for Stage 13 on Friday
Start time: 3:45 a.m. ET (approx.)
Route: 37.5 kilometers from Bourg-Saint-Andéol to La Caverne du Pont-d'Arc
TV: NBCSN, beginning at 7:30 a.m.
Streaming: NBC Sports Gold (subscription required), beginning at 8:10 a.m.