After two weeks of racing and a couple of tough summit finishes before the last rest day, this 40.2km individual time trial has the potential to drive a wedge between the slightest of cracks of those riders beginning to weaken. Starting in Circuito de Navarra, there is not a great deal to be said about this rather simple course, finishing sometime later at Logroño. The immediate riding out from the start and into the final kilometre are reasonably technical, though the course itself will suit those who are capable of sustain a high amount of power throughout. There are no recognised climbs and only a few slight drags along the way, with much of the second half actually raced slightly downhill. Such a course has the ability to expose weaknesses amongst those chasing for a good general classification place, as there are no opportunities for the lithe limbed climbers to make up time if having a bad day.
Nelson Oliveira still lacks a major win against the clock, though has already won a stage of La Vuelta a España despite this fact, and would certainly like to secure another victory with his specialist talent for time trials today. He has looked strong during the race thus far and should be extremely interested in performing well on Stage 16, especially in the absence of the usual clutch of time trial riders who dominate such days. With nothing else to really worry about, he can go into this challenge, knowing that he can end the day having put everything into a shot at glory.
Chris Froome is potentially the strongest time trial rider at the race, as the likes of Tom Dumoulin and Tony Martin are not here to argue otherwise. The Sky captain is in a dominant position as ever, though does not need to hammer home an advantage today, as it looks like the mountains are where he is hoping to deliver the greatest damage to his rivals. However, he wants to ride this race aggressively after such a defensively ridden Tour de France and will be aware that he may not even need to give it everything to win by a considerable margin today.
Bob Jungels certainly has the talent for a contest against the clock, though would no doubt have preferred a course which played to his strengths more so. Despite this, his development during the last year has been considerable and now makes the chances of winning a time trial in the final week of a grand tour more realistic. Though he will certainly perform convincingly enough, it might actually prove to be the fatigue of his rivals which delivers him a great win.
Yves Lampaert might not be an immediately obvious choice, but with a more open field and the accumulative tiring nature of a grand tour, he is well worth mentioning on Stage 16. He has worked hard for his team up to this point, so could prove to be more fatigued than previously thought, but his strong performances suggest that might not be too great a concern. He fits the bill for a rider likely to suit the course, but he shall need a bit of luck to steal the win from one of the bigger names here.
Tobias Ludvigsson has the potential to threaten the podium, but his form is rather unknown at this point of the race and he does possess an erratic record against the clock during longer races. However, he finished within 90″ of Chris Froome on the final time trial at La Vuelta last year, collecting third place on a similar course and distance; thus cannot be disregarded as a result.
Others deserving of a mention are Luis Leon Sanchez, Wilco Kelderman, Stefan Clement, Alberto Contador and Niki Terpstra
1st Nelson Oliveira 2nd Chris Froome 3rd Bob Jungels