The time trial (TT) is a special discipline where the riders use a time trial bike to compete instead of their regular road bike. Within the time trial, there are sub-disciplines, such as the Individual time trial (ITT) and the Team time trial (TTT).
Fastest Individual Time Trial (above 10km) average speed
Individual Time Trial (ITT) is competed individually with no drafting allowed. Riders are flagged off between 60 to 90 seconds apart, with the last rider on the General Classification to start first.
The Tour de France would feature at least an ITT stage depending on the year and route. In some years, it would feature a combination of a prologue, ITT, and TTT. In 2012, there were two ITT stages and a prologue, which had a total of 101km (63.3 miles) of time trailing. This puts Bradley Wiggins as the favorite to win as he’s a very strong time trialist compared to his nearest competitors.
In the past five editions, the time trial has been reduced to a total distance below 60km (37.5 miles) which is advantageous to pure climbers. In 2020, there was only one ITT, and it was a mountain time trial up La Planche des Belles Filles where Primoz Roglic cracked, and Tadej Pogačar overtook him to win his first Tour de France.
Eight of the top 10 fastest average speeds occurred after the year 2000. This can be attributed to the advancements in aerodynamics and bike technologies in recent years.
Rohan Dennis holds the fastest Individual Time Trial average speed at 55.446kph in 2015. He finished the 13.8km route in 14’16”.
|Rider||Average speed||Start / end||Distance||Year|
|Rohan Dennis||55.446 km/h||Utrecht||13.8km||2015|
|Greg LeMond||54.545 km/h||Versailles – Paris||24.5km||1989|
|David Millar||54.361 km/h||Pornic – Nantes||49km||2005|
|Tony Martin||54.271 km/h||Avranches – Mont-Saint-Michel||33km||2013|
|Lance Armstrong||53.986 km/h||Fribourg-Mulhouse||58.5km||2000|
|Cadel Evans||52.372 km/h||Cognac – Angoulême||55.5km||2007|
|Miguel Indurain||52.349 km/h||Tours – Blois||64km||1992|
|Geraint Thomas||52.282 km/h||Düsseldorf||14km||2017|
|Fabian Cancellara||51.204 km/h||Bordeaux – Pauillac||52.6km||2010|
|Serhiy Honchar||50.554 km/h||Saint-Grégoire – Rennes||52km||2006|
Fastest Individual Time Trial / Prologue (below 10km) average speed
A prologue is a very short time trial below 10km and usually sees speeds above 50km/h.
Chris Boardman holds the fastest prologue average speed of 55.152km/h for the 1994 stage in Lille. He finished the 7.2km stage in 7’49”, 15 seconds ahead of second-place Miguel Indurain.
The last Tour de Frace prologue was held in 2012 at Liège, Belgium. Fabian Cancellara finished the 6.4km (4 miles) route in 7’13” with an average speed of 53.210km/h, putting this ride the fifth fastest of all time.
|Rider||Average speed||Start / End||Distance||Year|
|Chris Boardman||55.152 km/h||Lille||7.2km||1994|
|Chris Boardman||54.193 km/h||Dublin||5.6km||1998|
|Fabian Cancellara||53.660 km/h||Londres||7.9km||2007|
|Fabian Cancellara||53.400 km/h||Rotterdam||8.9km||2010|
|Fabian Cancellara||53.210 km/h||Liège||6.4km||2012|
|Chris Boardman||52.465 km/h||Rouen||7.3km||1997|
|Thierry Marie||52.365 km/h||Lyon||5.4km||1991|
Fastest Team Time Trial average speed
The Team Time Trial (TTT) is competed by the entire team. Riders are allowed to draft each other for maximum aerodynamic benefits. It’s a joy to watch, especially with a well-oiled team that makes it look effortless.
The main challenge of TTT is race pacing and planning. Each rider in the team has their strengths and weaknesses. One main challenge is finding the right balance between speed and effort to play to the time trialists’ strengths while minimizing the time losses for the climbers.
The finishing time is taken when the fifth rider passes the finishing line,
The last three TTT were held on Stage 2 in 2019, stage 3 in 2018, and Stage 9 in 2015.
Orica GreenEDGE set the fastest ever TTT average speed of 57.841km/h, finishing 25km in 25’56”, 1 second ahead of Omega Pharma-Quick-Step and 2 seconds ahead of Team Sky.
|Team||Average speed||Start / End||Distance||Year|
|Orica GreenEDGE||57.841 km/h||Nice – Nice||25km||2013|
|Discovery Channel||57.320 km/h||Tours – Blois||67.5km||2005|
|Jumbo – Visma||57.202 km/h||Bruxelles – Bruxelles||27.6km||2019|
|Team Garmin-Cervélo||55.545 km/h||Les Essarts||23km||2011|
|BMC Racing Team||54.944 km/h||Cholet||35.5km||2018|
|Gewiss – Ballan||54.930 km/h||Mayenne – Alençon||67km||1995|