Tune in at 8:00 AM ET for coverage of Stage Nine of the Tour de France. Rob Sturney will be liveblogging for your enjoyment.
I'm Rob Sturney here with The Score's continuing coverage of the 99th Tour de France. Today we have our first long individual time trial, race of truth, race against the clock, le contre-la-montre, what have you. It's 41.5 kilometres with some ripples in there.
The first 117 riders, in reverse order of GC placing, will launch two minutes apart and the last 61 will take off three minutes apart. There are time checks at the 16.5 and 31.5 kilometre marks.
Even with a broken hand, the world TT champion Tony Martin of Omega Pharma-QuickStep has the best time, even with a flat tire. 53:40. Jens Voigt, who lit the fuse yesterday, is second best, 28 seconds in arrears.
Of course, the big story here today is whether or not Bradley Wiggins can put BIG time into Cadel Evans, Vincenzo Nibali and even Denis Menchov.
The top three time trial placings of three recent stage races might give us some insight into the riders' form.
Dauphiné 53 km: Wiggins, Martin +0:34, Rogers
Tour de Suisse 34.5 km: Kessiakoff, Cancellara +0:02, Monfort
Tour of California 29.7 km: Zabriskie, Voigt +0:23, Van Garderen
Look at that Tour de Suisse result: yes, that's our King of the Mountains leader and brave soloist from yesterday.
Dave Zabriskie didn't have all that hot of a time trial. He was in the top 10 for a stretch, but has dropped out. Here's the current top 3:
Tony Martin (Germany/Omega Pharma) 53:40
Jens Voigt (Germany/RadioShack) +0:28
Lieuwe Westra (The Netherlands/Vacansoleil) +0:29
Yellow: Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain/Sky)
Green: Peter Sagan (Slovakia/Liquigas)
Polka Dot: Frederick Kessiakoff (Sweden/Astana)
White: Rein Taaramae (Estonia/Cofidis)
Taaramae was in the top five at the beginning of yesterday, but lost quite a bit of time and now sits 10th at +2:27
Let's take a gander at the top 10
Van Den Broeck +2:11
Cadel Evans is no slouch when it comes to the time trial. He won the long time trial of the 2007 Tour in Albi.
Hey, did you know that RadioShack bumped Sky of the top of the team competition? Now they've got to wear the yellow helmets. That probably won't happen today though. I think the teams only have to have road helmets prepared, not the specialized "sperm hats". Having to have a full compendium of yellow helmets must he a waste of money for some of these teams.
Voeckler is coming through the first time check at 16.5 km. He's wearing a dimpled helmet. He's sixteenth.
Vinokourov is powering along. Surely, this must be his last Tour. You always had to factor him in the picture and watch out for his mad attacks. Now, not so much.
France is still celebrating the fantastic stage win of Tour debutante Thibaut Pinot yesterday. (Fairly) local boy makes good. Finally a breakaway prevailed.
Vino's teammate Janez Brajkovic will be hoping this time trial bumps him up the GC. He's currently in 16th. He was 16th in the Dauphiné time trial and 14th in the Tour of California time trial.
I think that starting at Stuart O'Grady the riders will be leaving three minutes apart.
Boasson Hagen comes through the first time check in 38th. Sagan is about to go. He's in his green ensemble. I'll bet he's looking forward to flat stages again. He'll have to wait for Bastille Day.
Kessiakoff is 13th at the first time check. That's respectable. He jumped up to 47th on GC with that polka dot grabbing performance yesterday. He leads Froome by a single point!
Poor old Brice Feillu is still the laterne rouge. He's 1:11:39 back.
Cancellara has his bike checked out. He's due in the start house soon. He probably won't be able to jump back into the top 30 on GC today, but he'll get awfully close.
Sagan can do well in a prologue time trial - he won the Tour de Suisse one - but he has difficulty with the long tests.
Tomorrow is the rest day. That means sleeping in for me. When we reconvene on Wednesday, we're getting into the Alps. The riders will be facing the Grand Colombier, 17.4 kilometres at 7.1%. Yep, that's HC. It summits 43 kilometres from the finish, and there's a Cat. 3 after it. I hope we'll see some attacks on this giant. The next day finishes on Cat. 1 climb to La Toussuire.
And there goes Spartacus!
Vino is gritting his teeth and givin' 'er. He's 1:30 down on Martin, putting him eighth. Gesink came in 2:30 down. What a disappointing Tour for Gesink.
The man-machine that is Cancellara looks very powerful and effective out there. We'll see his time check fairly soon.
Euskatel is down to five men. It's going to be up to Izagirre or Egoi Martinez to be the Orange Basques' representative in the top 20 in Paris.
Sagan is on a climb here, really labouring.
Voeckler approaches the finish. Twenty-eighth place for Tommy V.
They say that going without gloves and with a shaped bottle on the downtube is more aero than gloves and no bottle. Peter Sagan isn't enjoying this climb.
Thirty-eighth for Sagan at point one.
He's flying towards the first time check at the 16.5 km mark.
For those of us anticipating Andy Schleck to come back in time for the Vuelta, his broken pelvis is not healing as quickly as his doctors thought. His bummer of a season may be over.
Wow. Sandy Casar of FDJ has posted the second best time at the first check.
Cancellara is on the climb now. We'll get his check time very soon. There are tons of cheering fans on this climb.
Cancellara gets out of the saddle for a moment.
This climb to the time check at Abbans-Dessus is the second and biggest hill on the course.
Sylvain Chavenel is in the start house wearing the tri-colour French TT champion's jersey.
Cancellara nips Tony Martin's time by 38 seconds at the first check.
Kessiakoff is on his way to the finish. The man in the red polka dots is currently 19th
Spartacus continues driving the pistons. He'll hit the second time check at the 31.5 km point.
They will be the last two to go. The starts are in reverse order of the GC.