Fab Cancellara? (Trek) is no longer quoted, Tone Martin? (Etixx) looks like he’s ‘last year’s tester’ – the new crowned King of the Chrono is Dutchman Tom Dumoulin (Giant).
He put a minute into maillot jaune Froome in today’s technical and tough time test and set himself as the number one favourite for the Rio Olympic Time Trial.
And that’s after a brilliant mountain stage win last weekend in Andorra.
Sky’s reigning World TT Champ, Kiryienka?
Come on, the man’s been on the front for a fortnight!
Initially it looked like Richie Porte (BMC) might be right there too but a super quick time at check one flattered to deceive and he tied up to finish well down on the day.
Big Bauke Mollema (Trek) rode strongly into a podium position – solid rides too from Dan Martin (Etixx), Adam Yates (Orica), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Tejay van Garderen (BMC).
But another disappointing day for Nairo Quintana (Movistar) after the Ventoux yesterday where he looked distinctly average compared to Mollema and Froome.
But on this sad, strange day it was Froome again cementing his position in yellow and making it look more unlikely than ever that he can beaten in this Tour.
We pick up the action as the top GC men came off their turbos and headed for the start house…
As we wait on the Bigs rolling down the ramp the standings are:
- Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) 50.15
- Nelson Oliveira (Movistar) +1.31
- Jerome Coppel (IAM) +1.35
- Dennis Rohan (BMC) +1.41
- Ion Izagirre (Movistar) +2.02
- Tony Martin (Etixx-QuickStep) +2.05
- Steve Cummings (Dimension Data) +2.24
- Jan Barta (Bora-Argon 18) +2.31
- Macej Bodnar (Tinkoff) +2.32
- Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) +2.34
Despite the parcours perhaps not being one for the ‘pure’ chrono men – witness the deficits of Worlds chrono medal winner, Coppel; fastest ever Tour time tester Dennis and former world champion Martin – with two tough climbs it’s Netherlands ‘chronoman’ tall Tom Dumoulin well clear on the leader board from surprising Portuguese Champion, Oliveira.
Apart from the climbs, there’s also a vicious crosswind as Richie Porte rolls off the ramp – his compact style is ideal on day and tough, windblown course like this.
Porte is within nine seconds of Dumoulin at the first check – atop the days, first long drag, that’s good enough for second spot at this stage.
Sadly, we’ve heard that Trek’s up and coming sprinter, Edward Theuns has crashed and quit the race.
Dan Martin next of the ramp – he’s too skinny to be a big time tester so this is an exercise in loss limitation.
Tejay van Garderen is long and lean and can ride a decent test, he’s on the road now.
Roman Bardet is another skinny man but he now carries the hopes of France and will be only too conscious of that as he bumps down that ramp.
Rodriguez (Katusha) is on the road, too wee to be a chronoman it’ll be horrible day for him.
Mollema (Trek) is different; big, strong and powering through the wind – nothing unusual about that for a Dutchman – on that sleek Trek, he was ‘on’ yesterday on the Ventoux and it’ll be interesting to see how he goes today.
Quintana (Movistar) is on the road, remember that he’s improved his time testing no end and even won the elbow bend etape in the Route du Sud.
Yates (Orica)now, in white but on paper too frail to be a man to damage time pieces.
Dan Martin (Etixx) bounces about on the bike and is out of the tuck as the wind catches him – it’s not going to be a memorable time but as long as he doesn’t collapse, he’ll be happy.
Usain Froome (Sky) is off in an all yellow skinsuit with yellow flashes on the Pinarello to match, oh dear; but he looks less upsetting on a TT bike than he does on a road bike, the back is flat and the cadence is good.
Aru (Astana) looks surprisingly good through a technical section – it must be downhill?
Geraint Thomas (Sky) finishes – fifth, not a bad ride given the work he’s been doing for Froome.
Bardet nearly drops it on a corner – steady boy!
Dan Martin has dropped three minutes on Dumoulin at check two.
Aru fills the screen again – whilst he looks like he’s going OK, the watches don’t lie and he’s on a distinctly average time.
Froome is down on Dumoulin at check one – it looks like it’s the Dutchman’s day.
BMC’s Tejay is on a decent ride, not one to challenge for the win but well there in the GC squabble.
Meintjes (Lampre) drops four minutes on Dumoulin at the finish – that’s OK for him.
Porte to finish now, 15th spot, 3:08 down – he was second at the first check…
Mollema goes eighth at check three, he’ll be happy with that.
Dan Martin waggles his skinny arms into the finish straight, 26th @ four minutes plus – not a disaster.
Froome is looking very strong, clipping those apexes like a Moto GP rider – his style may be horrible but there’s nothing to fault about his velocity.
Aru scrapes top 30 @ just over four minutes deficit.
Tejay, 13th @ 2:50; that’s 22 seconds quicker that Porte.
Yates is 21st at the final check – not bad for a skinny climber.
There are 10 K to go for Froome but just metres to the finish for Valverde – 13th, not bad at all.
Froome slices through the third check, three quarters of a minute behind Big Tam D the Dutchman but clearly the best of the Bigs.
Bardet fights into the finish, he’s empty, you can see it – he’s dropped 3:52.
And there’s Mollema, not too far adrift of Bardet on the road for three minutes – fifth @ 1:53, nice ride.
Remember that whilst Dumoulin hid in the gruppo yesterday, the likes of Froome and Mollema were fighting to the death on the Ventoux.
Yates dances the last climb; behind him Froome looks to be suffering but keeps forcing that Pinarello upwards.
Quintana now to finish; 18th just over three minutes off the Dumoulin time.
Yates still dances, that catches A LOT of wind.
Froome is moving around much more in the saddle, now – this is hurting.
This is a brutal finish – all uphill and sore!
Yates is 17th dropping three minutes – that’s no disaster.
Froome now to finish, he will not beat Dumoulin but he will be way best of the GC riders, just over a minute behind the Giant man and taking second place on the stage.
The final stage story looks like this:
- Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Alpecin 00:50:15
- Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 00:01:03
- Nelson Oliveira (Por) Movistar Team 00:01:31
- Jerome Coppel (Fra) IAM Cycling 00:01:35
- Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing 00:01:45
- Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo 00:01:54
- Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 00:02:00
- Ion Izagirre (Spa) MovistarTeam 00:02:02
- Tony Martin (Ger) Etixx-QuickStep 00:02:05
- Steve Cummings (GBr) Dimension Data 00:02:2
And the GC now looks like this:
- Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 58:02:51
- Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek – Segafredo 00:01:47
- Adam Yates (GBr) Orica GreenEDGE 00:02:45
- Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 00:02:59
- Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 00:03:17
- Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 00:03:19
- Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 00:04:04
- Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team 00:04:27
- Daniel Martin (Irl) Etixx – Quick Step 00:05:03
- Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 00:05:16
The top ten never looked as cosmo as that when I were a lad…
An overwhelmingly sad day.