- Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) won the first time trial of this year’s Tour, his second stage win of the race so far. He excelled on a hilly course that was besieged by windy conditions, and he’ll surely be the favourite to pull off a repeat performance here.
- Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) is currently second in the General Classification, just one minute and 47 seconds behind Chris Froome. In the first time trial, he came in sixth place, disrupting the current top ten and moving himself up the leaderboard. He’ll be looking to cut into Froome’s time even more during Stage 18.
- Nelson Oliveira (Movistar) is an exceptional time trialist and the current Portuguese national TT champion, an honour he has held four times in the last five years. He came in third place on Stage 13 and will certainly be giving this stage a proper go for the chance to gain Tour glory.
- Nairo Quintana (Movistar) came in 20th in the last time trial and has yet to achieve any tangible results at this year’s Tour. He’s pretty much three minutes down on Froome, and while his time-trialling skills have improved, they haven’t improved enough for him to pose a serious threat to the current GC standings.
Mountain time trials are a rare feature in the Tour de France (unlike the Giro d’Italia), which will make for a day of exciting racing. The riders will go out alone, with no shelter from the wind and no peloton to keep them moving; all they will have is their legs and the climb ahead. While it’s a short stage, it won’t be lacking in excitement, as this will either confirm that Froome is set for another victory or show that a rider like Mollema can start to close the gap and make the Team Sky leader struggle in the final stages of the race.