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Date: Saturday, July 22
Distance: 22.5km (14mi)
After three weeks of racing, the fight to win the 2017 Tour de France comes down to this — 29 seconds separates the top three on the general classification, but realistically it is probably a battle between two. Yellow jersey and defending champion Chris Froome (Team Sky) is known to perform against the clock and will want a regular time trial with no mishaps. Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac) will need a repeat performance of the time trial of his life — he won Stage 12 at the 2014 Giro d’Italia and took the maglia rosa — to have any hope of surprising everyone and winning this year’s Tour. With such small time gaps, an untimely mechanical or puncture could open the gate for home hero Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale) to snatch the victory at the last possible point, but otherwise he is unlikely to take time. Look to world champion Tony Martin (Katusha-Alpecin) or Stage 17 winner Primoz Roglic (Lott0NL-Jumbo) as the stage favourites, but the key battle will be between Froome and Uran.
Christian Prudhomme, race director: “For the very first time, Marseille will welcome an individual time trial. A final opportunity to witness a change in the hierarchy and maybe see the yellow jersey switch shoulders. Set entirely on urban roads with a passage on the Corniche and by the Vieux-Port (old harbour), the course will be rather flat except for a climb up to the Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde cathedral. The start and finish will take place inside the legendary Vélodrome football stadium, recently renamed ‘Orange.'”
Chris Froome, Team Sky: “It’s a fast course, there’s a small climb out the back of Marseille, I think it suits me well. It’s not too technical, it’s quite a power time trial, I think someone like Roglic or Tony Martin could be fighting for the stage win. I do think at this point it’s my [GC] race to lose, I just have to make sure I do everything right, follow all the right processes, and hopefully not have a bad day. If I have the legs, everything else should be right.”