The penultimate stage of this year’s Tour de France is once again a time-trial.
Here’s how the likes of Tadej Pogačar will benefit from the historic company that continues to dream big.
For the third year in a row, the Tour de France features a time-trial on the penultimate stage.
In 2020 it proved pivotal as Tadej Pogačar, using Campagnolo Super Record groupset and Bora wheels, overcame a seemingly insurmountable deficit to Primož Roglič to claim a famous victory.
In 2021, Pogačar effectively sealed his second win with a solid performance on stage 20’s TT to take the overall win by over five minutes.
In 2022, could it be three in a row for the Campagnolo-using Slovenian?
If he does complete the hat-trick, his Herculean efforts will have been optimised and refined by the cutting-edge gear he utilises from Campagnolo.
But before we delve into seamless shifting and streamlined speed, it’s relevant to examine what lies ahead on stage 20 of this year’s Tour?
LONG STAGE OF TRUTH
The potentially decisive stage is an individual TT that stretches 40.7km from Lacapelle-Marival to Rocamadour. That distance harks back to years gone by compared to the shorter efforts of recent years.
As for the topography, it’s a rolling parcours with a 1.6km climb (4.7%) of the Cote de Mages at the 36.7km mark before a stiff climb of 1.5km at 7.8% just before the finish line.
Campagnolo equipment will be used by UAE Team Emirates, AG2R CITROËN Team and Cofidis.
French team AG2R will look to the resurgent Bob Jungels to star, the Luxembourg rider overcoming iliac artery surgery to win stage nine of this year’s race with a memorable 50km solo attack.
Jungels also finished 12th in the prologue.
Cofidis will hope Benjamin Thomas can continue his fine form that saw him come 23rd in the prologue and was Cofidis’ leading rider well into the second week.
For UAE and Pogačar it’ll be about victory aboard Colnago’s TT1 time-trial bike that enjoyed its first outing at the Giro d’Italia and was a collaboration between Campagnolo, Colnago and the UAE team.
The TT1 is the first time-trial bike from Colnago to feature disc brakes that were created with Campagnolo. The consistent stopping power proved vital for Pogačar on the drenched, technical prologue in Copenhagen as he stormed to third.
The weather forecast for Saturday 23rd July in the Rocamadour area is for sun and 30°C-plus temperatures so the polar opposite of Denmark.
Those mooted higher temperatures mean lower air resistance and faster times, which will be capitalised on by those riders with a low CdA. CdA is the co-efficient of aerodynamic drag and is how much resistance the rider presents. The lower the CdA, the less resistance, the faster the rider.
To keep Pogačar’s CdA as sustainably low as possible, Campagnolo’s new time-trial brake levers are designed to operate Campagnolo’s Super Record EPS electronic groupset without having to move out of the aerodynamic position. Those marginal gains can be the difference between victory and defeat.
Which with Pogačar is often victory.
And always helped by that Campagnolo12-speed EPS electronic groupset that, come the relatively flat stage-20 TT, will probably feature the 11-29 cassette option outback. .
Fast shifting, always precise and effortless for all levels of cyclist – exactly the stress-free, reliable and, let’s face it, gorgeous-looking equipment a Tour de France needs and deserves.
As for wheel selection come that penultimate stage into Rocamadour, we suspect Pogacar’s set-up will replicate that of the prologue, so a combination of Bora’s Ultra WTO 80 upfront and Bora’s Ultra WTO TT at the rear. Both will be the disc-brake versions.
Both will be the disc-brake versions.
The wind-tunnel optimised Bora Ultra WTO 80 features a 80mm-deep rim that delivers sharp handling in all conditions.
Further aero highlights include all-new aero spokes with hidden nipples, while CULT ceramic bearings cut friction at the hub. The 2-Way Fit rim is suitable for the tubeless set-up Pogacar will employ and aerodynamically optimised for 25mm-wide tyres.
The Bora Ultra WTO TT proved not only its speed credentials but its handling ones, too, in Copenhagen and will inevitably do so again on stage 20.
It’s light, stiff and cuts through the French air like a knife through beurre.
All in all, the likes of Pogacar and his Campagnolo-using contemporaries will be in the strongest position among the peloton to tame stage 20’s 40.7km time-trial from Lacapelle-Marival to Rocamadour and make the following day’s celebratory stage into Paris that bit sweeter.
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