Martin wins Tour TT as Peraud and Pinot secure overall podium
Three-time world time trial champion Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) has taken a comfortable victory in the stage 20 ITT at the Tour de France. The German covered the 54km course from Bergerac to Perigueux in 1:06:21, clocking an average speed of 48.8km/h on a course that included four short climbs.
Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Shimano) was second on the stage, 1:39 behind Tony Martin, while Jan Barta (NetApp-Endura) was third, a further eight seconds back.
Going into the only time trial of the 2014 Tour de France, Germany’s Tony Martin was the unbackable favourite. The Omega Pharma-QuickStep rider has won the world time trial championship the past three years running, he won a time trial at last year’s Tour, and he’s already shown this year — including with a victory on stage 9 — that he’s very hard to beat when it comes down to riding fast, solo, for long periods of time.
Having been 50th overall in the general classification before today’s stage, there was a bit of a wait before Tony Martin would get his chance to shine.
The early leader was Sky’s Danny Pate who was 11th down the start ramp and finished with a time of 1:09:22. Maciej Bodnar (Cannondale) was ahead of the American at the first timecheck, but ended up fading to finish second fastest to that point, 12 seconds behind Pate.
It wasn’t until roughly halfway through the list of riders that Danny Pate’s time was beaten. Czech time trial champion Jan Barta (NetApp-Endura) was the one to move into the lead, finishing 1:14 faster than Pate.
As Tony Martin took to the start ramp and set off for Perigueux, the top three riders were Jan Barta, Markel Irizar (Trek) and Danny Pate. But that was soon about to change.
Martin wasted no time, catching his two-minute man Rudy Molard (Cofidis) before going on to reach the first timecheck 35 seconds ahead of erstwhile leader Jan Barta. Martin powered on, catching the next two men on the road as well: Paul Voss (NetApp-Endura) and Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha).
At the second timecheck Martin was 1:38 ahead of Jan Barta and powering away to a comfortable lead. He crossed the line in Perigueux having covered a lumpy 54km in 1:06:21, 1:47 clear of the man who was leading to that point, Jan Barta.
Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Shimano) put in an impressive ride in the colours of the Dutch national ITT champion, riding into second place, eight seconds ahead of Barta and 1:39 behind Martin.
While no-one would go on to challenge Tony Martin for the stage victory — and the day’s final podium was set when Dumoulin finished — the riders later in the day still had plenty to race for. Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) started last, leading the race overall by more than seven minutes, while the riders before him were fighting for higher placings.
Two spots on the podium were up for grabs with Thibaut Pinot (FDJ.fr; second overall), Jean-Christophe Peraud (Ag2r-La Mondiale; third) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar; fourth) all in the hunt, all separated by just 15 seconds.
It only took until all three riders had passed through the first timecheck, 19km into the stage, to see how the overall podium at this year’s Tour de France would look. Peraud had already taken 25 seconds off Pinot (needing just 13 to move into second overall) and Valverde was struggling, looking likely to stay in fourth overall.
Peraud got a flat tyre with a little more than 20km to go but a quick bike change saw the former mountain biker get back on and ride towards a second place overall in the Tour de France.
Beyond the battle for the overall podium, Tejay van Garderen (BMC) went into the stage in sixth overall, needing 2:07 over fifth-placed Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) to move into the top five. The American rode an impressive time trial, finishing sixth on the day, and taking enough time on Bardet to finish the Tour in fifth. There wasn’t much in it though — Bardet suffered a puncture in the closing kilometres and the bike change cost him, finishing just two seconds slower than he needed to to hold on to fifth.
Valverde, while clearly a little way off his best, still rode well enough to finish 25th and hold on to fourth place overall. Leopold Konig (NetApp-Endura), meanwhile, was putting in yet another impressive performance, finishing fifth on the stage and moving up from ninth to seventh overall, overtaking the Belkin pair of Laurens Ten Dam and Bauke Mollema who both had ITTs they’d probably rather forget.
While most of the attention was focused on those fighting for positions two to five, Vincenzo Nibali cruised through to finish an impressive fourth on the stage. In doing so he once again extended his lead in the general classification, to 7:52 ahead of Peraud.
And so we go into the final stage of the 2014 Tour de France with Vincenzo Nibali the runaway winner and Jean-Christophe Peraud and Thibaut Pinot making up the podium. It’s the first time two French riders have finished on the podium since 1984, when Laurent Fignon won and Bernard Hinault was second.
The final stage is a largely ceremonial affair, taking the riders 138km from Evry to Paris’ famous Champs-Elysees. There’s one fourth-category climb along the way, but with the KOM classification already sealed up (by Tinkoff-Saxo’s Rafal Majka) that climb will be of little importance.
Thibaut Pinot will win the best young rider classification and currently sits 3:22 ahead of compatriot Romain Bardet. It’s interesting to note that beyond Bardet, the next closest rider in that competition is Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), more than an hour behind.
And Peter Sagan (Cannondale) will win his third green jersey in as many Tours de France tomorrow when the race finishes on the Champs Elysees, but not before vying for an elusive stage win on cycling’s most famous boulevard. But before that happens, the best riders in the elite women’s peloton that will take to the Champs Elysees, riding in the inaugural La Course by Le Tour de France. You can check out our preview of the 89km circuit race here.
Previous stage reports
– Stage 1: Marcel Kittel takes Tour opener as Cavendish and Gerrans crash
– Stage 2: Vincenzo Nibali wins in Sheffield and takes Tour lead overall
– Stage 3: Marcel Kittel doubles up in London, Nibali holds on to yellow
– Stage 4: Marcel Kittel claims his third stage as Vincenzo Nibali defends yellow
– Stage 5: Lars Boom wins on the cobbles of stage 5 as Chris Froome crashes out
– Stage 6: Andre Greipel sprints to victory on stage 6, Nibali holds steady in yellow
– Stage 7: Matteo Trentin wins in a photo finish, Nibali secures a sixth day in yellow
– Stage 8: Blel Kadri solos to stage 8 victory, Nibali holds lead after GC shakeup
– Stage 9: Tony Martin takes solo win as Tony Gallopin rides into yellow
– Stage 10: Nibali takes back yellow as Contador crashes out of the Tour de France
– Stage 11: Gallopin wins stage 11 of Le Tour after a perfectly timed late attack
– Stage 12: Kristoff sprints to his first Tour de France stage win into Saint-Etienne
– Stage 13: Nibali climbs to a third stage win and stamps his authority on Le Tour
– Stage 14: Rafal Majka claims to stage 14 win in his first Tour de France
– Stage 15: Kristoff wins again as Bauer and Elmiger fall agonisingly short
– Stage 16: Michael Rogers wins stage 16 after late attack off the Port de Bales
– Stage 17: Majka wins again as Tinkoff-Saxo go back-to-back at Le Tour
– Stage 18: Nibali takes a fourth stage victory as the Tour leaves the Pyrenees
– Stage 19: Navardauskas wins solo after late attack on a wet stage 19 of Le Tour
[rrresults format=’full’ id=’124227′]