German world champion Martin takes stage

Froome extends his lead in Tour de France as Ireland’s Martin slips to 13th

Team Sky rider yellow jersey holder Christopher Froome   cycles past  Mont Saint-Michel during the 32 km individual time trial eleventh stage of the centenary Tour de France. Photograph: Eric Gaillard/Reuters

Team Sky rider yellow jersey holder Christopher Froome cycles past Mont Saint-Michel during the 32 km individual time trial eleventh stage of the centenary Tour de France. Photograph: Eric Gaillard/Reuters

Wed, Jul 10, 2013, 17:15

Chris Froome strengthened his grip on the yellow jersey in the 100th Tour de France as he finished second behind Tony Martin in today’s individual time trial to Mont-Saint-Michel.

Although his time of 36 minutes 41 seconds was 12 seconds off that of world time trial champion Martin’s, Froome can be happy to have taken more than two minutes out of both Alejandro Valverde and Alberto Contador to extend his lead in the general classification to three minutes 25 seconds over Valverde.

Ireland’s Dan Martin finished in 62nd place in the time trial, three minutes and 36 seconds behind the stage winner. He drops from eighth to 13th in the general classification, five minutes and 52 seconds behind Froome, but only two minutes and 27 seconds behind, second placed Valverde in the GC.

Fellow Irishman and Martin’s cousin, Nicolas Roche, finished in an excelent 28th position on stage 11 of the tour andmoved up to 42nd in the general classification.

Froome had been ahead of Tony Martin at both of the intermediate check points during the 33 kilometre run from Avranches, but fell off the pace in the final 11km.

The German Martin, who took silver in the Olympic time trial behind Sir Bradley Wiggins and ahead of Froome in third last year, could be seen watching on anxiously as Froome crossed the 9.5km marker one second ahead of his time, and then the 22km marker with a two second lead.

But while Froome would have gladly taken a second stage win of the Tour so far, his primary concern was distancing his general classification rivals, and he did that comfortably despite slowing relative to Martin towards the finish.

Valverde, the last man to set off before Froome, could only manage a time of 38 minutes 41 seconds despite pushing so hard he nearly struck a wall on the road along the Normandy coast.

Contador was a further three seconds down in 15th place, and the result sees Froome more than double the lead he took with his stage victory on stage eight to Ax 3 Domaines on Saturday.