February 23 rd 2023 - 14:30
A PRELUDE OF THINGS NOT TO COME (II/VI)
In their dogged efforts to create the right conditions for thrilling battles and stretch out the suspense, the organisers of stage races have never shied away from tinkering with the parameters of time trials. This year, Paris–Nice is experimenting with a peculiar team time trial format in which each rider will be credited with his actual time in the stage. An individual time trial raced as a team is certainly a left-field idea, but the history of cycling is rife with exotic concepts for the race against the clock. This series reviews these attempts to push the envelope, some of which went down in history.
In the 1988 Tour de France, the stage to La Baule was neither a conventional team time trial nor a prologue, but a "prelude", a semantic choice intended to underscore that the times would not count towards the general classification. The formula was a hit with the fans, but it has never been repeated.