Stage 11 Avranches to Mont-Saint-Michel (TT) 33km
Tour de France Stage 11: DER PANZERWAGEN UBER ALLES!
The first ITT of the Tour was made for the chrono specialist: flowing rollers with plenty of open fast roads. With the finish coming into the stunning Mont-Saint-Michel, the course was open and buffeted by winds. Incidentally, some MSM workers were striking in opposition to discontinuation of a shuttle service that saved them a 500m walk. The strike was an escalation of action that earlier in the week saw workers waiving fares for visitors to the site. And of course, record crowds were expected in conjunction with le Tour.
Right, the wind: the first 12km was mainly a cross tail though coming back around from the 19km mark a block head. And as it was near the coast the wind does nothing but pick up during the day. The later starters, as it seems to always be unless it rains early, were to cop conditions tougher than the earlier starters.
The risk for all starters, and particularly those starting later with a stronger initial tail wind, was to go too hard at the start and be cooking with fumes on the return leg into the wind.
The early leader was Svein Tuft before Thomas de Gendt beat his mark by 20 seconds. Then Tony Martin mounted up like a Regulator in the start house and blew away the competition beating De Gendts time by 1 minute averaging 54+kph.
Back out on the course and Cavendish copped a urine spray from an irate spectator. Are we sure it wasn't R Kelly at the Tour?
Anyhow lets get back to talking about DER PANZERWAGEN. Allan Peiper, who used to be Martin's DS at High Road, commented this morning that it was normal for Martin to use a 58-tooth big dog for a TT like this one. 58! That is awesome. The thing probably hits the road when he turns the corners..
And yes well, it was a TT so we need to weave up material where we can and these little crackers comes courtesy of letour.fr:
"After 1,710km of racing, the overall leader Chris Froome (SKY) has an advantage of two hours, one minute and 13 seconds over the rider in 182nd place, Murayev (AST). Converted to distance that's a difference of 82.5km."
At the other end of the spectrum:
"If the 1'25" deficit that Valverde has on Froome in the general classification were converted into distance, then it would equate to 964m".
That's a fair difference...
Also it's time to award the Rasmussen award. An award given out to the most pathetic performance in a TT. It was inspired by his amazing TT in the 2007 Tour which can be seen here:
Pierre Rolland set a high standard early and Andy Schleck gave it a good crack, coming in 4:44 down, but then we have young Ryder Hesjedal who won the Giro last year and managed to finish 5:02 down. A stunning effort. He is either ill, injured or just CBFed. Whatever the reason, he's the recipient of the 6th Annual Rasmussen Award for Ordinary Time Trialing.
Back to the action and no one was close to threatening Martin's time until a man by the name of Froome, in a little race called the Tour de France, in the sport of professional cycling, beat Martin's first intermediate time by one second. By the second intermediate it was two seconds before the stiff headwind home. There was a chance he would fade coming into the end as previous riders had and so it came to be, with Froome dropping 14 seconds in the final split and coming in second.