Tour de France Time Trial Winners’ Average Speed

By : Mr Mamil
Updated :

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)

Rohan Dennis at the 2015 Tour de France

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.

Depending on the year and route, the Tour de France would feature at least an ITT stage. In some years, it would feature a combination of a prologue, ITT, and TTT. In 2012, there are two ITT stages and a prologue, which has 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 the 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 advancement 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”.

RiderAverage speedStart / endDistanceYear
Rohan Dennis55.446 km/hUtrecht13.8km2015
Greg LeMond54.545 km/hVersailles – Paris24.5km1989
David Millar54.361 km/hPornic – Nantes49km2005
Tony Martin54.271 km/hAvranches – Mont-Saint-Michel33km2013
Lance Armstrong53.986 km/hFribourg-Mulhouse58.5km2000
Cadel Evans52.372 km/hCognac – Angoulême55.5km2007
Miguel Indurain52.349 km/hTours – Blois64km1992
Geraint Thomas52.282 km/hDüsseldorf14km2017
Fabian Cancellara51.204 km/hBordeaux – Pauillac52.6km2010
Serhiy Honchar50.554 km/hSaint-Grégoire – Rennes52km2006

Fastest Individual Time Trial / Prologue times (below 10km)

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.

RiderAverage speedStart / endDistanceYear
Chris Boardman55.152 km/hLille7.2km1994
Chris Boardman54.193 km/hDublin5.6km1998
Fabian Cancellara53.660 km/hLondres7.9km2007
Fabian Cancellara53.400 km/hRotterdam8.9km2010
Fabian Cancellara53.210 km/hLiège6.4km2012
Chris Boardman52.465 km/hRouen7.3km1997
Thierry Marie52.365 km/hLyon5.4km1991

Fastest Team Time Trial

Team INEOS at the 2019 Tour de France TTT

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 own strengths and weaknesses. One of the main challenges is to find 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.

TeamAverage speedStart / endDistanceYear
Orica GreenEDGE57.841 km/hNice – Nice25km2013
Discovery Channel57.320 km/hTours – Blois67.5km2005
Jumbo – Visma57.202 km/hBruxelles – Bruxelles27.6km2019
Team Garmin-Cervélo55.545 km/hLes Essarts23km2011
BMC Racing Team54.944 km/hCholet35.5km2018
Gewiss – Ballan54.930 km/hMayenne – Alençon67km1995
Carrera54.610 km/hBerlin40.5km1987
Ariostea52.919 km/hChassieu36.5km1991
Panasonic52.049 km/hLibourne63.5km1992