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Stage 16: TDF TT Day

Stage 16: TDF TT Day

12th Jan 2024

It’s Stage 16 at the Tour de France - it’s TT time.

This year’s Tour has been one for the ages. There have been surprise stage winners, a battle for Polka Dots, domination in the sprints, and plenty of heartbreak to boot. We’re also in the midst of a generational battle for yellow.

It’s the morning of Stage 16, the calm before the perhaps yellow jersey-defining storm. Jonas Vingegaard is sitting ten seconds ahead of Tadej Pogacar, their next closest rival is five minutes behind. With little to choose between the two, this time trial could be race-defining.

Making up less than 1% of the overall race distance, the 2023 Tour has the least amount of time trial kilometers in living memory. Even then, the 22.4km that the riders tackle is hardly a traditional test against the clock.

The first 16km is relatively rolling, before the riders reach the Côte de Domancy. The total climb is 6.3km long at 6.6% average, the final 2.5km being at 9.5%. It is on the Domancy that the Tour could be decided.


The preparation for Tour de France TTs, especially when in the final week of the race, happens months before. Team staff will be sent to drive the course and make notes. The expected contenders may even take time out of their early season calendar to ride the route.

Pacing strategy and equipment choice are the topics of conversation around the team bus paddock. Both UAE Team Emirates and Jayco-AlUla will be using our front-end, with Pogacar on the search for yellow and Simon Yates still in the battle for a Top 10 overall.

Marco Pinotti is the Sports Engineering Director at the Australian team, and is recognised as one of the brightest minds in the time trial world.

“It is a TT for the GC contenders. I don’t see that many others have a chance for results. I would have liked a longer TT but still I think it will be a key stage for Yates’ placement in the race. So far, the mountains have created small gaps and I think bigger gaps could come when riders are going alone without having visual references.”
— Marco Pinotti

To bike change or not to bike change, that is the question.

The final climb comes with a key question: should you bike change? For those who aren’t riding full gas, it’s not too much of a bother. For those who are going for a stage win or GC, it could make all the difference. Some basic calculations show that a bike change could save around ten seconds, but it also comes with the inherent risk of a bad change!

According to Pinotti, there are two key points to consider:

  • Weight of equipment

  • The ability of riders to climb on TT bike vs Road bike - What he calls "power-ability"

How it Played Out

Pogacar versus Vingegaard.

White versus Yellow.

As I write this, the two favourites are out on course. There is still 10km, still the final climb to go and Vingegaard is flying. He has put thirty seconds into his rival. Has he gone out too fast? Is Pogi on a bad day?

Pogacar bike changes. It’s fast. It’s smooth. But, he’s the only favourite so far who has done. Both Yates and Wout rode the TT machine to the top.

Vingegaard reaches the bottom of the climb, the time gap hasn’t shown yet. Pogacar looks strong on his road bike, TTs with a climb to the line are his thing. Can he bring the thirty seconds back? It’s the a climbing white jersey like this that Jumbo-Visma had nightmares about after the 2019 Tour de France.

The time gap flashes up on screen. Vingegaard is almost a minute up on Pogacar. Advantage yellow. Even though Pogi crosses the line some X seconds ahead of second place, it’s damage limitation for the Slovenian.

Is Vingegaard on the ride of his life, or is Pogacar on a slight off day?

1.5km to go. The gap is over 90 seconds. It looks like Vingegaard could even catch Pogacar. I’m not sure anybody predicted that one.

The final time gap between Jonas and Pogacar is 1:38. Third place, Wout van Aert is a further 1:14 behind. What a time trial by Jonas Vingegaard. Unbelievable stuff.

The Best of the Rest

The top two will take the headlines, and on days like today, it’s easy to forget that there are another 154 people in the bike race. For Jayco-AlUla, it was a good day out, with Simon Yates placing fifth overall.

“I tried to pace it to my strengths, I was always going to lose time on the flat and I just tried to go full gas on the climbs. In the end I blew a little bit and I think it was more because of the heat, it is really warm and humid here and that really took its toll over the TT. I think I did an ok ride today, it was a really demanding course”
—Simon Yates - Jayco-AlUla


While both Jayco-AlUla and Team UAE Emirates are partners of Sync Ergonomics, there’s another rather high-profile rider using our bars too: Mathieu van der Poel.

MVDP has been using our bars since June 2023. A chance conversation with the Alpecin-Deceuninck team after the 2022 Giro d’Italia eventually led to the team requiring a performance-oriented solution for the 2023 Tour.

MVDP has been on chief lead out duty for the fastest man in this year’s race, Jasper Philipsen. While this TT isn’t quite to Mathieu’s liking, his bike was equipped with the EVO PRO extensions.

The Dutchman might not have been racing for yellow or the stage, but there is no doubting his style on the bike. It’s impossible to put MVDP into one word, all we can say is that it’s awesome to see him looking so good on a TT bike.

Image by: Zac Williams Photography

Win with GreenEdge and Sync

In collaboration with Jayco-AlUla we’re giving away a full V2 Evo Ecosystem to assist your time-trial optimisation goals. This competition is taking place on our Instagram account and is open until July 23rd.

Follow this link for all the details.

Image by: Zac Williams Photography


Images by: Zac Williams Photography @z_w_photography

About the author

Joe Laverick’s cycling introduction was via the British time-trial scene, since starting the sport, he has been all about speed. He’s a freelance writer and privateer racer who mixes road, time trial and gravel racing. To this day, he remains one of the only riders on the planet to have beat Remco Evenepoel in a time trial.