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‘Team time trials are always important, they have their place in grand tours’

As well as providing a vital opportunity for GC riders to gain seconds, the TTT adds a sense of team camaraderie and a visual spectacle, says Mitchelton-Scott boss.

BRUSSELS (VN) — Team time trials show up irregularly, but “are always important” and “have their place” in grand tours, says Mitchelton-Scott at the 2019 Tour de France.

The teams today race stage two, 27.6 kilometers through the Brussels city streets to the 1935 Worlds Fair site. Some rub their hands with glee, others hope to get the day over and dream of the mountains to come.

“I do like them in Grand Tours,” Mitchelton-Scott team boss Shayne Bannan told VeloNews.

“I think it’s a visual, it has a visual impact on our sport. It’s a beautiful sight seeing eight guys fully kitted out, riding around wherever in the countryside.”

This year, the team time trial and an individual one of 27.2km in Pau, stage 13, attempt to balance out a rather mountainous parcours.

“Absolutely,” Bannan said when asked if the two time trials will weigh on the eventual final overall classification.

“Also flat stages are important to stay out of trouble, of course the time trial stages are important because it’s a really nice aspect of our sport. Mountains are important, that’s where you can gain a fair amount of time.”

Adam Yates leads the Mitchelton-Scott team in its bid to win the Tour de France. With Yates, the team won the Tirreno-Adriatico stage one team time trial this March. With another team, it won the stage in the Coppi e Bartali.

“They are a unique event. There is a really good feeling doing well in a team time trial, winning a team time trial, because everyone is involved. All the guys feel a great deal of satisfaction winning a stage ever but the team time trial is a bit more important,” continued Bannan.

“For the technical suppliers, a lot of time and energy goes into the aero bikes, goes into the speed suits, the helmets… It’s my favorite event. It’s fantastic.”

The Tour de France in 2018 included the last team time trial in a grand tour. BMC Racing, now Team CCC, rode first over the 35.5km course with four seconds on Team Sky (now Ineos), seven on Quick-Step and nine on Mitchelton-Scott. Romain Bardet and his Ag2r La Mondiale team lost 1:15, a significant chunk of time for an overall contender.

“The team time trials are always important. If you can make two to three seconds up here or there, that’s always an advantage. It’s important. One, two, or three seconds could be the difference at the end of the day,” said Bannan.

“We are fortunate that we have guys who are very diverse and happen to be good in the team time trial as well. It was the case of selecting our best team, and by the way, they are also pretty good in team time trial.

“The Yates have done a lot of work on time trialing. It is not just something that happens, they have been doing a lot in the wind tunnel, in training, so credit to them.”