This individual time trial takes place on minor roads and has a third category climb smackdab in the middle. That said, despite its length it’s doubtful that this is going to have the race-crushing effect as the ITTs in the Tour had. It will give the specialists a chance to shine and grab some time, but the climb and the technical nature of some parts of the descent means that those who are good when the road rises up and goes down can certainly limit their losses.
Chris Froome will expect to do well and could well end the day in red. Alberto Contador is also an excellent time-trialist who will expect to gain time on compatriots Joaquim Rodriguez and Alejandro Valverde. By extending his overall advantage to 53 seconds in recent days, Rodriguez will undoubtedly lose time and probably the red jersey, but should stay within striking distance. The real pressure will be on Valverde, a poor rider against the clock, who could find himself slipping behind fifth-placed Robert Gesink if he has a bad day at the office. Nonetheless, the top four/five is a real dogfight and I reckon it will still be a dogfight when this stage is over.
As for the stage victory itself, Froome will be a contender but the favourite will be reigning world champion Tony Martin, who edged him out for silver in the Olympic time trial. Watch out also for Thomas De Gendt, an excellent time trial rider who could offer an attractive each-way bet.