Stage 11: Avranches to Mont-Saint-Michel, 33km individual time trial
World time trial champion Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) fittingly took victory in stage 11’s race against the clock – but only just. Martin edged out race leader Chris Froome (Sky) by mere seconds, as the Briton again stole headlines – and a chunk of time – from the other GC contenders.
Tony Martin started and finished the relatively short individual time trial so early, live TV coverage from the host broadcaster hadn’t even started. Thankfully the ASO’s timing systems had, clocking a time which wouldn’t be beaten.
In fact, the time was so impressive that no one else looked like going close, until the very last rider – the yellow skinsuit-clad Chris Froome – rolled out of the start house. As had been expected, Froome set a blistering pace, recording the fastest time over the first and second checkpoints. Having been sat bored for most of the day, provisional leader Tony Martin suddenly looked a little nervous.
However, Froome slowed over the tougher second half of the course, battered by the coastal winds as he darted towards the shadows lurking beneath the spectacular Mont Saint-Michel. The race leader eventually stopped the clock 12 seconds slower than Martin, but had still made further time gains on those scrapping for the maillot jaune.
He extended his lead over second-placed Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) to over three minutes, while Bauke Mollema held onto the third and final podium spot. His Belkin teammate Laurens Ten Dam fell outside the top five altogether, while Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) leapfrogged his teammate Roman Kreuziger into fourth.
The TT saw only one jersey change hands, with Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) reclaiming white from Nairo Quintana (Movistar).
VeloVoices rider of the day
Thanks to stomach problems, Vacansoleil’s Thomas De Gendt was out of the GC running before the race had even left Corsica. The 26-year-old – who finished third at last year’s Giro d’Italia – today hit back with a vengeance, finishing an impressive third on the day. He’s still well down overall, but the Belgian deserves a hat tip for still giving his all.
Opinion & analysis
This stage panned out pretty much exactly as expected, with Tony Martin taking victory and Chris Froome taking time from everyone else. Froome’s nearest competitor for the yellow jersey is now almost 3½ minutes in arrears, and overhauling that gap looks increasingly impossible.
But, while the TT was mostly predictable, there were some events worthy of note. Belkin’s Bauke Mollema rode a great race for 11th place on the stage, ensuring he keeps his podium spot on GC. He’s stepped up to the plate in place of his ever-disappointing teammate Robert Gesink (who is down in 32nd overall) and has been highly impressive throughout the Tour so far.
Contrastingly, a few big name riders rode poor time trials. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) finished almost 3½ minutes behind Tony Martin, while Andy Schleck (RadioShack-Leopard) lost the best part of five minutes. Pierre Rolland (Europcar) only fared marginally better, with the polka-dot jersey evidently not blessed with the same inspirational powers as the maillot jaune. Rolland has been one of the race’s big disappointments, today dropping to 27th on GC.
Stage 11 result
1. Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) 0:36:29
2. Chris Froome (Sky) +0:12
3. Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil-DCM) +1:01
4. Richie Porte (Sky) +1:21
5. Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) +1:31
1. Chris Froome (Sky) 42:29:24
2. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) +3:25
3. Bauke Mollema (Belkin) +3:37
4. Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) +3:54
5. Roman Kreuziger (Saxo-Tinkoff) +3:57
6. Laurens Ten Dam (Belkin) +4:10
7. Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) +4:44
8. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) +5:18
9. Rui Costa (Movistar) +5:37
10. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Ag2r La Mondiale) +5:39
Green jersey: Peter Sagan (Cannondale)
Polka dot jersey: Pierre Rolland (Europcar)
White jersey: Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick Step)
Team classification: Movistar
Link: Official website