Measuring just 23km and on flat roads all the way, this team time trial test is designed to split up the contenders for the yellow jersey but not to the point where any of them end up totally out of contention.
An Astana team featuring Alberto Contador and Lance Armstrong bossed the last tour de France team time trial in 2009, but in last year’s Vuelta and May’s Giro d’Italia, it was HTC-Highroad that took the honours, with just 73 seconds separating HTC in first place and Euskaltel in last. On that basis the gap between top and bottom today shouldn't be as much as two minutes, but that same Giro stage also suggests that euskaltel leader Samuel Sánchez is likely to be the main loser here. There’s added incentive to do well today - the strongest team here could well put a man in yellow. Team BMC will give it a read hot crack to try to cement Cadel into yellow, but it would be a tough ask to defend the jersey all the way to Paris. Saxo and Leopard will be keen to put in a good performance to pull back time for both Contador and Schleck.
Beer for the stage: Fullers London Pride. At 4.7 %, this sensational beer sets itself as a terrific session beer, ideal for late nights in front of the box.
Bière locale: Again,La Brasserie Mélusine based only 5km from the stage town. With a great range of hand crafted beers from a White Ale through to a Brown beer, they'll be able to suppress a thirst developed by a French summer heat.