The bookies’ favourite Tom Dumoulin won Stage 13 with a searingly assertive TT performance, finishing with the winning time of 50:15.14. Race leader Chris Froome ably defended his lead, putting further time into his rivals, by riding into second place ahead of Nelson Olivera, who occupied the hot-spot for a long period ahead of Dumoulin.
Rider of the race
It has to be the stage winner, Giant-Alpecin’s Tom Dumoulin, who powered round the 37.5km course from Bourg-Saint-Andeol to La Caverne du Pont d’Arc in the beautiful Auvergne region a full minute ahead of race leader Chris Froome. It was Dumoulin’s second stage victory at this year’s Tour de France – his first was an attack from the break on stage 9’s stormy finish into Andorra. He’s looking in formidable form ahead of his main target, the individual time-trial at the Rio Olympics, which will be held on a not too dissimilar course.
Post-race, he talked about being both happy at his victory and saddened by the tragic incident the night before in Nice:
It was a just question whether we should race or not today. In the end, it was a just decision to race because we can’t let terrorists rule our lives in our society. It’s terrible what happened and overshadows the day a lot. So you’re speaking to a man with two sides to his face today. Of course I’m happy with the win, but at the same time my thoughts are with everyone involved in the horrific attacks in Nice.
Those of us who live in and near Nice appreciate the sentiment, solidarity and support.
Two-time Tour winner Bernard Thevenet, who now works for ASO, described today’s challenge.
A hard time trial, which will suit the rouleurs more than the climbers but a special kind of rouleur. The pure rouleur can hold a very high rhythm for a long time but this time trial is held on smaller roads, with ups and downs and lots of changes of rhythm. The winner will be somebody who can keep adjusting to those changes. These days, TT time gaps can be bigger than those in the mountains, so today will be a very important day for the yellow jersey.
Friday’s stage 13 was always going to be unlucky for some. The top ten started the day within around two minutes of the yellow jersey but ended it over five minutes down. There was a shake-out of the contenders, rather than a shake-down. Bauke Mollema‘s (Trek-Segafredo) sixth-place finish was enough to catapault him onto the second step of the podium. Will he live to rue the jury’s decision yesterday which saw race leader Froome (Sky) awarded the same finishing time as him? [Judging from his tweets last night, I think he already rues it – Ed]
Looking at those flags, fittingly almost at half-mast, I hear David Bowie singing “Wild is The Wind”. Each slipping down a place, both Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale) seemed to be forcing their bikes around the course while more noted time-trailers, such as Richie Porte (BMC), moved up the general classification. But if these or any of the other riders in the top ten want to move up, they’re going to have to go hard in the mountains in the final week. Meanwhile, Froome is sitting pretty invincible in the maillot jaune.
The Press Buffet
On a less serious note, some things were an improvement on yesterday!
1 Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) 50:15
2 Chris Froome (Sky) +1:03
3 Nelson Oliveira (Movistar) +1:31
4 Jerome Coppel (IAM) +1:35
5 Rohan Dennis (BMC) +1:41
GC top 5
1 Chris Froome (Sky) 58:02:51
2 Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) +1:47
3 Adam Yates (Orica-BikeExchange) +2:45
4 Nairo Quintana (Movistar) +2:59
5 Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) +3:17
All the jerseys
Leader’s jersey: Chris Froome (Sky)
Points jersey: Peter Sagan (Tinkoff)
KOM jersey: Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal)
Best Young Rider: Adam Yates (Orica-BikeExchange)
For full stage review: CyclingNews
Header image: Flowers after the minute’s silence after the podium ceremony today ©GETTY/Chris Greythen