The Grand Depart of the 2015 Tour de France is a 13.8km ITT around the city of Utrecht. This marks the 20th time the Tour starts outside of France and the 6th time the Tour has started in the Netherlands.
Through the 90s, it was popular for the first stage to be a Prologue—a short ITT. In the past decade, however, road stages have seen to be the favor for the Grand Depart. So, at 13.8kms, a compromise was struck between the two. Additionally, it’s the fourth-longest TT to start the race ever. Additionally, this is the only ITT of this particular Tour. As a matter of fact, there is almost as much cobbled streets and ITT kms!
So, who’s going to take the win? It’s tough to say. It’s far too long for a true Prolouge specialist, however it seems a little on the short side for some of the other true TT specialists. A lot of people seem to be thinking Tom Dumoulin will make the most of his native start as well, though I think riders like Thomas De Gendt, Tony Martin, Jean Christophe Peraud, or Leopold Konig shouldn’t be discounted. Of course, a girl can dream and hope Fabian Cancellara give Trek something to cheer about right from the start because don’t forget, whoever wins this stage pulls on the first yellow jersey of the race!!
But it’s a very long Tour. The GC men will ride hard to stay within each others’ times but will be careful to not crash or overdo themselves. But I bet they will be mindful of another statistic—the winner on the opening day has won the overall Tour 19 times!