The 2011 Tour de France enters the final weekend with two stages remaining, only one of which could likely determine the final winner. After a backbreaking six high mountain stages in nine days, what has been an unpredictable Tour hits the individual time trial one day before the final march down the Champs-Élysées. The time trial takes place in Grenoble and features a circuitous 42.5 kilometer route.
The Tour saw Andy Schleck take hold of the yellow jersey on the final day in the Alps and he now leads his brother by 53 second and Cadel Evans by 57 seconds. Evans, riding for Santa Rosa-based BMC Racing, is considered by many to have an excellent chance of taking the yellow jersey from Schleck during the time trial as that is one of his strengths. There are some modest hills during the circuitous route that could give the pure sprinters just enough trouble, but not so much as to benefit the pure climbers.
At this point Evans really is only battling the two Schleck brothers and simply needs to outlast them by just under a minute. Thomas Voeckler, Damiano Cunego and Alberto Contador are all a ways off and given their respective strengths, they're unlikely to climb back into the race.
The time trial kicks off at 5:00am pacific on VERSUS. NBCSports.com will continue to provide a live online stream via subscription service.
We'll be here for the entire race providing news updates and stage previews and recaps, particularly as they relate to Bay Area-based BMC Racing. For more in-depth discussion on the 2011 Tour De France, head over to Podium Cafe. For more general Tour coverage, head over to the SB Nation story stream.