Utrecht 23.4km TTT
The Vuelta kicks off with a team time trial around the streets of Utrecht. As we are in the Netherlands, expect lots of support for Jumbo-Visma.
We have a real risk of thunderstorms, which isn’t ideal for a TTT. It looks like there will be rain in the afternoon and early evening, but accurately predicting when will be very difficult.
Considering you have 8 riders trying to stay in formation, it looks very technical to me, with plenty of corners. The longest straight section of road is 3.5km in length, the next one is the 2km stretch of road that leads to the finishing line, it’s unusual for a TTT to lack straight roads.
Jumbo-Visma – they have Roglič, Affini, Teunissen, Harper, Dennis, Gesink, Oomen and Kuss. The first six of these guys have huge engines, Oomen and Kuss can also hold their own in this discipline. Interestingly, only Teunissen was part of their winning TTT squad in the 2019 Tour de France. They will see this as a good chance for Roglič to take some time on his GC rivals, every second counts in this race. Being on home soil, this stage will long have been a target for the team and you can bet they know every inch of the route, and how to best use their team in this stage. Remember, the time is taken on the 5th rider across the line, and the TTT is an art form Jumbo-Visma have mastered. If they do take the win, Gesink should be the man in red, if it all goes to plan.
Ineos – another strong team for this stage with Hayter, Sivakov, Geoghegan Hart, Rodríguez, Van Baarle, Carapaz, Plapp and Turner. As they’ll want to keep Carapaz in their front five, they won’t be able to push as hard as they would like, the presence of Carapaz will likely slow them down. They do have excellent TT riders in Hayter, Rodríguez, Plapp and Van Baarle but some of their climbers will find it hard to follow the pace. Expect to see Van Baarle as their first man across the line, this is a once in a lifetime chance for him to wear the red jersey.
BikeExchange – after a brilliant season on the TT bike, can they roll back the clock to a time when they dominated this discipline? Craddock, Scotson, Groves, O’Brien, Durbridge, Hepburn, Hamilton and Yates is a strong outfit, they have some powerhouses in this squad. Back in the day, they took a huge amount of pride in this discipline, they have a chance of challenging for the win, and the red jersey.
QuickStep – Evenepoel, Cavagna and Van Wilder provide the TT expertise. Rounding out the squad are Alaphilippe, Devenyns, Masnada, Serry and Vervaeke. It looks a strong unit, one that should be challenging for the win.