/ Cycling

Chris Froome tightens his grasp on the yellow jersey but Tony Martin wins time trial

Updated: Wednesday, 10 Jul 2013 17:00 | Comments

Tony Martin took the stage 11 time trial
Tony Martin took the stage 11 time trial

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 endured a disappointing day in which he finished 3:36 behind winner Tony Martin. He drops down to 13th in the overall classification, now 5:52 off the pace.

There was slightly better news for Nicolas Roche who finished the time trial in 28th, 2:35 off the lead and he is now in 42nd place overall. 

Froome had been ahead of 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 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.

Thomas De Gendt of Vaconsoleil took third place in the time trial, with Froome's Team Sky team-mate Richie Porte in an encouraging fourth, one minute 21 seconds down, to suggest he is back in his rhythm after losing more than 17 minutes on Sunday's stage nine.

Martin's Omega Pharma-Quick Step team dominated most of the other headlines on the day both on and off the road, with their 23-year-old Polish rider Michal Kwiatkowski taking fifth place and Frenchman Sylvain Chavanel seventh to give them three riders in the top 10.

Mark Cavendish finished all the way down in 163rd place, but only after a spectator had thrown urine at him out on the course as the controversy over last night's crash in Saint-Malo continued.

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