PARIS (AFP) —Contenders for the 2012 Tour de France yellow jersey have been given notice of the need for strong time trialling skills after organizers unveiled the race route for the 99th edition Tuesday.
A total of 96.1 km of racing against the clock will feature on the course, spread over the prologue (6.1km), stage 9 (38 km) and the penultimate stage 19 (52 km).
The last time so many kilometers of time trialling featured was in 2007, when Spaniard Alberto Contador secured the second of his three victories by triumphing in the Lake Annecy time trial.
During the reign of Tour de France director Jean-Marie Leblanc, in the 1990s and first few years of 2000, it was routine to have over 100km of time trials on the race.
In 1992, for example, emerging Spanish great Miguel Indurain got to showcase his formidable time trialling skills over 137 kilometers, doing the most damage on the Luxembourg time trial held over 65 km.
Time trialling became Indurain’s trademark as he went on to join the elite club of five-time winners of the race, becoming the first rider to achieve the feat consecutively.
Following is a list of the time trial distances on the last 10 editions of the race:
2012: 96.1 km
2011: 42.5 km
2010: 60.9 km
2009: 56 km
2008: 82.5 km
2007: 117.4 km
2006: 116.1 km
2005: 74.5 km
2004: 77 km
2003: 102.5 km
2002: 109 km