Tony Martin Wins TT
Stage 11, an individual TT over 33km from Avranches to Mont Saint-Michel, was powerfully won by the German rider Tony Martin of the Omega Pharma-QuickStep team.
As the world champion individual time trials he was of course the favorite to win the stage on Wednesday. He proved to be a true champion and beat the whole peloton in the TT. The runner up, yellow jersey bearer Chris Froome, had to give in 12 seconds to Martin. Since Martin is not playing any role in the general classification, it was Froome who did good business. Number two in the general classification, Alejandro Valverde, is now 3 minutes and 25 seconds behind the leader and this gives Froome a comfortable position.
The TT was the third quickest ever in the history of the Tour de France. In the legendary last TT in the Tour of 1989, Greg LeMond won with a staggering 54.545 km/hr. In 2003 David Millar rode 54.361 km/hr and now Tony Martin did it with 54.271 km/hr. Well done!
Dutch Bauke Mollema was not too optimistic when he spoke before his TT start that he felt good and that he didn’t plan to loose time on his competitors. Although he ended 11th at 2 minutes and 5 seconds from Martin, he beat all his contenders for the positions of 2 to five.
Valverde, Alberto Contador and Roman Kreuziger all ended far behind Mollema. So, Mollema sits stronger in his saddle at the third position. If he can get through the flat stages to come, then he might give rise to a real spectacle in the Alps.
Golden boy Mark Cavendish experiences, since the accident with Tom Veelers in stage 10, that the fame of a celebrity can quickly change. During the TT he was sprinkled with urine. Cavendish was not angry but rather disappointed.
Cavendish gave a phone call to Tom Veelers to apologize. Veelers thinks however that Cavendish should do the apology man-to-man.
The 218 km from Fougères to Tours are categorized as ‘rolling’. The stage is not going to be a beautiful stage to watch. It will rather be boring, besides the intermediate sprint and the finish.
The finish in Tours is very difficult. There are two 90 degrees turns to the left, with the first one at 650 meters to go and the second one at 450 meters from the finish line. A power sprint like in stage 10 will therefore not be possible. The sprinters and their teams have to use good tactics to be able to win this sprint. Some irritation, anger and disappointment might give extra energy to Mark Cavendish who seems to be best fitted for this kind of finish.