Tag Archives: Tony Martin

Sagan retains title as the desert winds blow

Never underestimate the ability of great cyclists to put on a great race on any circuit in any conditions in any country in the world. Sunday’s elite-men’s World Championship road-race proved that. A deserted circuit in the desert, the conditions were baking hot and the country was Qatar. And yet, the race was brilliant.

I was still in bed when the Qatari winds blew and the big-name opportunists split the race to bits. Echelons were the name of the game. The UCI must have been praying for those winds such was the negativity around these championships. Too hot, too remote, nobody watching. Barriers erected to keep stray camels off the course rather than for fans to lean against, or so it felt. A pan flat circuit that seemed made for a bunch sprint.

By the time I tuned in, there was a group of about 30 ahead with a chasing pack behind. The race was on and there was so far still to go. Some big names had made the split while other big names were reeling. This would be one thing in normal racing conditions, but across the desert? For over 250km? It would prove to be relentless. It would leave some broken. Only 53 of the 197 who took the start, finished.

Of the names you would expect to be alert to this kind of blitz, there was Peter Sagan and Mark Cavendish, as well as the vast majority of the Belgian team. It was the Germans who suffered worst with sprinters Andre Greipel and Marcel Kittel both left behind. The heat built, the strain took hold and perhaps while gazing off into the deserted wilderness around him, John Degenkolb went a little crazy. The German rider lost his cool with Belgian rider Jens Debusschere for not helping the chase. The fact that half the Belgian team were up the road mattered little to Degenkolb. He felt that with Debusschere being on Andre Greipel’s trade team, that he should pull his weight. Degenkolb’s afternoon of lunacy was complete when he then sprayed water on the Belgian rider with his bottle. That Debusschere didn’t chin him was testament to the Belgians ability to keep cool under such conditions. Degenkolb should have been pulled from the circuit right there and then, though the race referees need not have worried. The German, along with most of his team, withdrew shortly after. Stunned by the heat and the ambush that had caught them napping.

And so the race for world glory was reduced to a small pack. Given the pace and conditions few had the legs to try split it up further and few tried. The result was the sprint we thought we might get, albeit with some familiar faces missing. It seemed made for Mark Cavendish but when he failed to follow the wheel of Adam Blythe it was just the mistake that someone like Peter Sagan needed. Cavendish found himself boxed in. Sagan’s kick was enough to take him to the line and to retain his title. Cavendish in having to check his sprint to avoid the back wheel of Michael Matthews and allow himself a gap to come through, could only get up to second. Cavendish was furious, but unlikely Degenkolb earlier, it was only with himself. He was the fastest man there, but that moment of hesitancy was the difference over 5 hours 40 minutes of racing. Such is bike racing. Such are the fine margins by which world championships are won and lost.

Peter Sagan goes down into a select group of six who have won the world championships back to back. The last was Paolo Bettini in 2006/2007. It always seems fitting when the best cyclist in the world wins the rainbow jersey. It was a joy watching him wear it throughout the season, not least for myself in Montreal, and so it should be great again in 2017.

After that heat and that intensity of racing in Qatar, the peloton have earned a good break as the season comes to a close. The UCI might regret the decision to take the worlds to Qatar. At least I hope they made some good money that they can invest in something good. But Yorkshire in 2019 will stand in stark contrast to it. Still, Qatar, Yorkshire or wherever, thank goodness for these fine athletes to still have it within them to put on a superb show.

Result:

1. Peter Sagan (SVK) in 5h40’43”

2. Mark Cavendish (GBR)

3. Tom Boonen (BEL)

4. Michael Matthews (AUS)

5. Giacomo Nizzolo (ITA)

6. Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR) all same time

Rider of the week

For all of Sagan’s fine spriting on Sunday, the prize must go to Tony Martin. The German led his team to the team-time-trial prize and then won himself the individual time-trial title by 45sec over his nearest competitor, Vasil Kiryienka. A fine week though unfortunately he missed the major splits in Sunday’s road race.

As history is set, another man in yellow crashes out

AStage 6: Abbeville > Le Havre, 191.5km

It was a day to remember for Daniel Teklehaimanot who made history by becoming the first rider from Eritrea and the first black African to take a leaders jersey at the Tour de France. It was a day to forget for Tony Martin who became the second man in the space of six stages to abandon the Tour while wearing the Yellow jersey.

For Teklehaimanot of the MTN-Qhubeka team — the first African team to ride in the Tour — it was the fulfilment of a life long dream achieved when he got into the days break and snapped up each of the available three King of the Mountain points. Teklehaimanot has said that he would like to defend the jersey as long as possible, and it’s certainly possible that he can keep it over the next couple of stages, but come the high mountains on Tuesday he’ll have a real battle on his hands, but if he’s up to the challenge then I’ll certainly be supporting him on it.

On a stage made for the scenery and built for the sprinters the break of Teklehaimanot, Perrig Quémeneur (Europcar) — on the attack for the third time already in this Tour — and Kenneth Van Bilsen (Cofidis) was always going to dangle, but never survive and so it proved to be the case as the last man, Van Bilsen, was swept up on the streets of Le Havre and at the foot of that short-sharp little climb up to the line. And it was there that things unraveled for Martin.

He touched the wheel of the rider in front as the punchy riders began to press the issue going under the red kite, leaned to his right in an attempt to keep his balance but hit Warren Barguil triggering a domino effect of collisions that took down Barguil, Vincenzo Nibali, Tejay Van Gardener and Nairo Quintana with Chris Froome narrowly missing out. After the race Nibali would initially blame Froome for the crash and it led to Froome storming into the Astana team bus post-race to confront Nibali, but a sit down between the pair quickly cleared the air as Niabli apologized for wrongly accusing Froome. Such is the stress in the heat of the moment in the Tour.

As the TV cameras lingered on the accident while the race charged on up the hill, it was clear Martin was in trouble, holding his collarbone in that all too infamous pose of a cyclist in trouble after a crash. By the time the camera did cut back to the finish line, Martin’s Etixx Quickstep team-mate, Zdenek Stybar, riding in his first Tour, had gone clear. The rest looked to Peter Sagan to take up the chase, but aware that this is precisely what he had done a year ago only to tow the rest across and watch them come by him on the line, Sagan held station. By the time the sprint did open up it was too late and Stybar held on for a fine victory, Sagan coming in, naturally, in second.

Frustrating for Sagan no doubt, but it’s the game he has to play in the short term — to show the rest he won’t always be the one to chase down the moves — if he’s to win often in the long term.

But neither Sybar nor Teklehaimanot got the headlines that evening as on any other day they would have. All attention was on Martin who was pushed home by a handful of team-mates and, after a quick visit to congratulate Stybar, was whisked off to the medical centre to have himself checked out.

Later in the evening it was confirmed that his collarbone was indeed broken and and his Tour was done. He had joined Fabian Cancellara as men to have crashed out in Yellow in this Tour sparking talk of some kind of curse. Chris Froome will inherit the jersey again but tradition and etiquette should dictate that he won’t wear it tomorrow, and given the treatment it has dished out to those who have, he may not want to. With Tom Dumoulin exiting the Tour several days ago we’ve now seen three of six riders to have sat in the top three overall at one point or another in these first six days crash out.

Result: Classement:
1. Stybar (EQS) in 4h53’46”

2. Sagan (TCS)

3. Coquard (EUC)

4. Degenklob (TGA)

5. Van Avermaet (BMC)

6. Gallopin (LTS) all s.t.

1. Martin (EQS) in 22h13’14”

2. Froome (SKY) +12″

3. Van Garderen (BMC) +25″

4. Sagan (TCS) +27″

5. Gallopin (LTS) +38″

6. Van Avermaet (BMC) +40″

Good things come to those who wait, work hard, persevere…and win.

Stage 4: Seraing > Cambrai, 223.5km

The cobbles. It was one of the stages we’d all been waiting for and what a stage it was. It didn’t have the impact on the race favourites that we thought it might (though try telling that to Thibault Pinot), but the action was still frantic and what a better way to round up an incredible first four days of diverse yet grueling racing than to see Tony Martin get the stage win and his first Yellow jersey at last.

About the only constant over those first four stages in which we seen a time-trial, a day of cross winds and rain, a finish on the Mur de Huy and a day on the cobbles, was Tony Martin sitting second overall while three different riders took a turn in Yellow ahead of him.

On Saturday he sat 5 seconds behind Rohan Dennis (now 89th at 14’14”); on Sunday he was 3 seconds behind Fabian Cancellara (now abandoned), who took advantage of a time-bonus on the line; and by Monday he was 1 second behind Chris Froome (now 12 seconds behind him) who also took a second place time-bonus on the stage to hop into the race lead.

Fans everywhere felt for Martin, but they say the Yellow jersey doesn’t come easy and good things come to those who wait, work hard, persevere…and win.

He made his big move a handful of kilometres from the finish, with the cobbles safely behind, coming out of a depleted peloton of 33 riders – but which contained all the favourites to win this Tour, though none of whom had any interest in pegging Martin back, unlike the sprinters of John Degenklob and Peter Sagan, who failed to mark his move and who were resigned to fighting for second in the group sprint.

Martin went harder than he’s ever went before. You could say he rode his bike like he had stolen it…which, funnily, he kind of did. Earlier in the stage Martin had run into mechanical trouble but a quick bike swap with team-mate Matteo Trentin soon put him back in the lead pack and kept his hopes alive. It was a move in stark contrast to that of Thibault Pinot who declined a team-mates bike under a similar circumstance due to a size difference, a mistake that brought out the frustration in him and that cost him 3’23” by the line leaving his general classification bid in tatters.

Last year it was the cobbled stage that Nibali used to build the foundations of his Tour victory but while he was the fastest and most assured of his rivals on the cobbles, often surging to the front when they began and at times opening gaps, the weather (dry) and wind (headwind making it difficult to maintain gaps) didn’t play ball, and while the size of the peloton dwindled, the names that mattered remained intact.

One such name was Chris Froome, of who many felt would struggle on this terrain, but he rode superbly and rarely left the front handful even forcing the issue coming off the final sector of cobbles, briefly opening a gap with a select group of seven or eight men that included Nibali but not Contador or Quintana. It was eventually pegged back however and it left us wondering what might have been had there been just a sector or two more.

Still, it might be wrong to suggest the stage will have no long-term baring on the general classification. Take Nairo Quintana for example. The little lightweight was meant to suffer today and perhaps shed minutes, something he could ill afford to do given he entered the stage already 1’56” behind Froome, but he hung in, and should he find his best form in the mountains and put the rest in trouble, he might look back to this day, when he didn’t lose the tour, as a day that helped him win it.

There’s a long way to go though before we can even think about analysing the stage like that, but for what it was, it was a fine day of action. Tomorrow things should settle a little and the race should revert to the kind of opening week stage we used to know in the 90s and 00s as the sprinters have their way. We’ve certainly been spoiled by this Tour thus far and there’s even more still to come in the days and weeks ahead.

Result: Classement:
1. T. Martin (EQS) in 5h28’58”

2. Degenklob (TGA) +3″

3. Sagan (TCS)

4. Van Avermaet (BMC)

5. Boasson Hagen (MTN)

6. Bouhanni (COF) all s.t.

1. T. Martin (EQS) in 12h40’26”

2. Froome (SKY) +12″

3. Van Garderen (BMC) +25″

4. Gallopin (LTS) +38″

5. Sagan (TCS) +39″

6. Van Avermaet (BMC) +40″


8. Contador (TCS) +48″
13. Nibali (AST) +1’50”
17. Quintana (MOV) +2’8″
30. Pinot (FDJ) +6’30”

The usual winner in a stage with surprising implications for the GC

As expected Tony Martin won today’s individual time-trial, but what was not expected was the performance of some of the general classification contenders. Nairo Quintana had a heavy crash and lost more than three minutes to his biggest rivals while Chris Froome, clearly without form, lost 1’32” to the stage winner and 53 seconds to Alberto Contador who moves into the Red jersey having finished just 39 seconds off the time set by Martin.[

Of the main contenders to win the Vuelta it was Rigoberto Uran who posted the best time, 15 seconds shy of that of Martin but 24 seconds better than Contador. Not a big loss for Contador who started the day 1’23” up on the Colombian though Uran’s time does move him up into the top three in the general classification, 59 seconds behind Contador.

Below is a look at how the favorites stacked up against one another in the time-trial:

Uran in 47’17”
Contador +24″
Sanzhez +33″
Valverde +46″
Froome +1’17”
Anacona +1’30”
Rodriguez +1’32”
Quintana +3’52”

Winner Anacona — Winner being his name, not the stage winner, though he did win Sunday’s stage — had very solid ride losing little more than a minute to Contador and retain his top five placing overall.

It was a day many thought Froome would gain time on his rivals forcing them to attack him come the mountains, but it the opposite scenario that played out and now we’ll head into the big mountains with Froome having to quickly find his form and go on the offensive against Contador among others. He now trails Contador by 1’18”, far from an insurmountable gap and one that will make for exciting attacking in the days to come, but a tough one nonetheless.

The condition of Quintana will also be of concern. Losing almost three and a half minutes to Contador thus putting him 3’25” behind the Spaniard in the GC is nothing short of a disaster. Not only that, but Quintana lost 3’06” to his team mate Alejandro Valverde who will surely now lay claim to team leadership and with it the help of Quintana. Of course, how badly Quintana is injured will be the big question and whether he can recover enough to be a factor in this race, or indeed finish it?

Should he be OK we’ve seen as recently as the Giro just how Quintana can improve as a Grand Tour goes on and how he can overcome a huge deficit. That said, Contador will be no pushover and regaining that kind of time on him in the mountains, while also hoping the handful of other contenders fall by the wayside, won’t be easy.

Overall standings after stage 10:

1. Contador (TCS) in 36h45’49”

2. Valverde (MOV) +27″

3. Uran (OPQ) +59″

4. Anacona (?) +1’12”

5. Froome (SKY) +1’18”

6. Rodriguez (KAT) +1’37”


11. Quintana (MOV) +3’25”

Martin blizes time-trial; Nibali honours yellow; Frenchman sweep remainder of podium

Stage 20: Bergerac to Périgueux, 54km individual time-trial.

The man expected to win, did win and, thanks to his position in the general classification, had completed the job long before the battle that would garner all the attention got under way: The fight for the final podium positions. Tony Martin could well have gone back to his hotel, had a shower, a bite to eat and returned to the podium such was the certainty of his ride that nobody to come after would beat it, but instead he was made to sit beside the finishing line, watching various riders come up to the line and fall well short of his mark.

As a result however he got to enjoy the exciting climax to this years tour podium. Coming in, Vincenzo Nibali held such a lead that nothing short of a disaster would have put his Tour into jeopardy, but rather than play it safe and coast around, Nibali still went out hard, determined to honour the yellow jersey. The effort put him into fourth for the stage and resulted in him taking yet further time from those around him in the overall standings.

Nibali will ride into Paris with a 7minute, 52 second lead over the nearest man, the biggest winning margin in the Tour since Jan Ullrich beat Richard Virenque in 1997 by 9 minutes, 9 seconds. Thinking back to that day who would have though it would be the last (and only) time the then 23 year old Jan Ullrich would win the Tour de France and also the last time a Frenchman would stand on the podium…until now.

At least one podium spot was all but guaranteed between second place Thibaut Pinot and third place Jean-Christophe Péraud with Spaniard Aljeandro Valverde the only one who could potentially strip one place away from them, but it became evident early that Valverde wasn’t going to be doing that. Valverde was the slowest of the top six and it soon became a battle between Pinot and Péraud to sort out which order they would stand on the podium. Pinot came in with a 13 second lead over his fellow countryman, but Péraud stormed off the starting ramp and had overturned the entire defect plus a further 12 seconds by the first time check at 19 kilometres.

Indeed, Péraud was the fastest of the main contenders at the first check taking 5 seconds from Tejay Van Garderen and 6 seconds from Nibali, but a bike change slowed his progress and he himself began to lose ground on that pair as the course wore on. By the second check Péraud was now well behind Nibali and Van Garderen and 24 seconds up on Pinot who had matched Péraud for pace, shy a single second.

By the third check Péraud had studied himself and put 36 seconds into Pinot’s time and it was clear the elder statesman of the pair at 37 years of age would not only live out his dream by finishing on the podium but would do so in second place. He hit the line with the seventh best time on the day, 45 seconds better than the young Pinot.

Péraud broke down crying after the finish and Pinot will be satisfied with a top three. The French waited 17 years for someone to do this and two have come along at once. It’s the first time two Frenchmen have finished on the podium since Laurent Fignon and Bernard Hinault in 1984.

It also had the potential to be the first time three Frenchmen finished in the top five since Charly Mottet, Luc Leblanc and Fignon in the 1991, but Romain Bardet struggled almost as badly as Valverde and, like his teammate, was forced to make a bike change. Unlike Péraud however, Bardet’s change cost him: Van Garderen, who required 2’07” coming into the stage, put 2’09” into the youngster and took fifth place by a mere 2 seconds. It was like a miniature version of Fignon vs. LeMond all over again…the Frenchman losing out right on the final stretch to the American, albeit for minor placings this time.

And so Tony Martin could finally move away from the waiting area and onto the podium and head back to his hotel for a long overdue lie down. His ride was on another level to the rest. He beat Tom Dumoulin by 1 minute, 39 seconds, Jan Barta by 1’47” and was two seconds shy of putting two minutes into the yellow jersey. Still, Nibali won’t mind; he proved himself the strongest over the three weeks as a whole and further illustrated that against his rivals today. He will coast into Paris tomorrow to win the Tour de France.

Result:
1. Martin (OPQ) in 1h6’21”
2. Dumoulin (GIA) +1’39”
3. Barta (TNE) +1’47”
4. Nibali (AST) +1’58”
5. Konig (TNE) +2’02”
6. Van Garderen (BMC) +2’08”
Others
7. Péraud (ALM) +2’27”
12. Pinot (FDJ) +3’12”
26. Bardet (ALM) +4’17”
28. Valverde (MOV) +4’28”

Overall:
1. Nibali (AST) in 86h37’52”
2. Péraud (ALM) +7’52”
3. Pinot (FDJ) +8’24”
4. Valverde (MOV) +9’55”
5. Van Garderen (BMC) +11’44”
6. Bardet (ALM) +11’46”

A day for Tony’s

Stage 9: Gérardmer to Mulhouse, 170km. Rolling.

Yesterday the French got their first stage win of this years Tour, today they got the yellow jersey, right in time for Bastille Day tomorrow. Let the party begin. Oh to be in France tomorrow as the race continues through the Vosges to join in on that celebration.

It’s a lead that isn’t likely to last beyond tomorrow, and a lead that in a way was a gift to the French by Vincenzo Nibali’s team. They didn’t work too hard to chase an early break that went clear and stayed clear. These rolling stages are perfect for breakaway specialists, it’s far too hilly for the sprinters and their teams to chase and it’s not hilly enough for the big favorites to make their moves.

For someone like Tony Gallopin who sat reasonably high up on the GC coming into the stage, it was perfect. He didn’t win the day, that went to Tony Martin who attacked earlier and rode the last chunk of the stage solo to win his first ever road-race stage victory in the Tour de France. He was so far ahead, 2 minutes, 45 seconds on the chasing group — by the finish that he could sit up and shake hands with his manager in the team car with about 3km still to go.

But for Gallopin all he needed to do was stay in that group. He and a handful of other French riders, aware of the significance of the yellow jersey on French shoulders, albeit someone on a different team, rode hard for Gallopin, and he too took his turn as he tried to keep the rolling peloton far enough behind.

He did, and then some. He took the yellow jersey off of Nibali by more than a minute and a half. A fine day if your name is Tony.

Tomorrow however is a brutal stage and with a steep summit finish — the same place that Chris Froome won two years ago while Bradley Wiggins laid the foundations for his tour win — the likes of Nibali and Contador are sure to try and lay the foundations for their own bid to win this Tour.

Result:
1. Martin (OPQ) in 4h 9’34”
2. Cancellara (TRE) +2’45”
3. Van Avermaet (BMC)
4. Dumoulin (GIA)
5. Montaguti (ALM)
6. Rojas (MOV) all s.t.

25. Nibali (AST) +7’46”

Overall:
1. Gallopin (LTB) in 38h 4’38”
2. Nibali (AST) +1’34”
3. Machado (NET) +2’40”
4. Fuglsang (AST) +3’18”
5. Porte (SKY) +3’32”
6. Kwiatkowski (OPQ) +4’00”

Martin hangs on for win; Froome smashes his rivals

The stage result was predictable enough. So predictable that even I predicted it right. Tony Martin won and that makes it a staggering two stages in a row that I’ve got the prediction right after Marcel Kittel’s win yesterday. He trounced the 33 kilometre course to the beautiful and scenic Mont Saint Michel in a staggering 36 minutes, 29 seconds for a mind-blowing average speed of 54.271 km/h.

Martin is the master at the time-trial, but he went so early on the day that the television camera’s weren’t live to catch him and as a result was made to sit at the finish for some four hours waiting to see if he’d win. That’s because Chris Froome, the last man on the road in his Yellow jersey made him wait right until the final hundred yards to confirm the German had indeed won the stage.

Froome won’t mind too much at falling twelve seconds short of Martin’s time, despite beating him by a single second and then two seconds at the two respective time-checks out on the course. The headwind into the finish caught up with Froome but it caught up with the men he was most concerned with more as he took huge chunks of time out of them all.

The upshot was that Froome not only retained his Yellow jersey, but moved further into the lead. A whole 3 minutes, 25 seconds now stands between him and second placed Alejandro Valverde with Bauke Mollema a further twelve seconds back. It’s a major blow for Froome’s rivals who, aware that he was a solid performer against the clock, must have been desperate to limit their losses to seconds rather than minutes. All that is left now is for the likes of Valverde’s Movistar team, Mollema and Laurence Ten Dam’s Belkin team, and Alberto Contador and Roman Kreuziger’s Saxo Tinkoff team to come together to relentlessly attack Froome in the Alps in the hopes that they can once again isolate Sky as they did on stage nine and find a way to crack the solid looking Froome.

It’s certainly possible, but whether they will come together to do this remains to be seen. The two Saxo boys, the two Belkin boys, and Movistar’s Valverde and Nairo Quintana (who failed to flatter the rumours that he was quite good against the clock as he lost 3’16” to Froome) may do their own attacking and counter attacking because a mere 45 seconds separate second to sixth which might lead them to getting in one another’s way as podium seeking becomes as important as trying to reel back in the Yellow jersey.

Froome may be gone now and while he deserves to be where he is and the biggest race deserves to have the biggest names in it so that we know the winner really is the best out there, you can’t help but look at the second to sixth positions and imagine what a Yellow jersey battle that we’d be watching had Froome not been around. But he is, and they have to find a way to deal with him less they choose to ignore him and settle for second. I hope not.

There was some other fine performances of note on the stage. Thomas De Gendt set a fantastic time to finish third, albeit over a minute behind Martin. He’s had a poor tour by his standards so this might make up for it a little. I don’t think anyone seen him time-trialing so well, but clearly he felt good afer the rest day on Monday. Likewise Richie Porte who on stage nine fell apart and dropped well down the overll. He came in forth. And in sixth was Canada’s Svein Tuft. A time-trial specialist I hoped he might crack the top three, but sixth is still impressive. Canadian’s are used to seeing Ryder Hesjedal in this sort of position on this kind of stage, but the 2011 Giro champion is riding hurt and clearly didn’t have the heart for it today finishing way back in 136th, 5’02” behind Martin.

Another strong performance was that of Peter Sagan. He finished 17th in the end but will be disappointed he didn’t cling onto a top 15 placing that would have seen him score more points in the Green jersey contest. Still, his lead in that is so strong it will take him not finishing the Tour for him to lose the jersey. Indeed, many will now suggest that it’s just the Mountains competition and the Young riders contest that remain viable competitions in this years Tour. I like to hope the Yellow jersey isn’t all won yet given the amount of climbing left, but we’ll see.

Speaking of the White jersey competition, what about Michal Kwiatkowski in fifth? That’s the young 23-year old’s fifth top five stage finish of the ten road and individual time-trial stages we’ve had so far. He looks one hell of a talent who has been getting right up in the mix for the sprint finishes, been keeping near the front in the mountains and today proved he’s also good against the clock. The result was good enough to move him back ahead of Quintana in the White jersey competition and it’s clear the Tour has found a young talent that could very well win the Tour one day.

stage 11 certainly shook things up a bit and will prove to have been one of the pivotal stages in this years Tour. It’s amazing the Tour has only visited Mont Saint Michel on one other occasions than this — 1990 when Johan Musseeuw won a bunch gallop — but it’s certainly a camera mans delight as we seen from the multiple shots of the abbey on the causeway in the background as each rider made his approach.

Tomorrow they head south bound towards the mountains, tough it’ll take several stages to get there. It should end up in a bunch sprint yet again, but it was clear to look at some of the times today that there were many men riding below their maximum, perhaps saving their legs in the hopes of doing something to disappoint the sprinters.

On we continue…

Stage 11 result

1. Tony Martin (QPQ) in 36’29”

2. Chris Froome (SKY) + 12″

3. Thomas De Gendt (VCD) + 1’01”

4. Richie Porte (SKY) + 1’21”

5. Michal Kwiatkowski (OPQ) + 1’31”

6. Svein Tuft (OGE) + 1’35”

Others

11. Bauke Mollema (BEL) + 2’05”

13. Alejandro Valverde (MOV) + 2’12”

15. Alberto Contador (TST) + 2’15”

General classification after stage 11

1. Chris Froome (SKY)

2. Alejandro Valverde (MOV) + 3’25”

3. Bauke Mollema (BEL) + 3’37”

4. Alberto Contador (TST) + 3’54”

5. Roman Kreuziger (TST) + 3’57”

6. Laurens Ten Dam (BEL) + 4’10”