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Sprint finish: Chris Froome has time to stop for bike swap, still wins time trial

Got two minutes? Here’s everything you need to know about today’s stage of the Tour de France.

Froome: stretched his yellow jersey lead.
Froome: stretched his yellow jersey lead.
Image: Laurent Cipriani/AP/Press Association Images

Result: CHRIS FROOME CLINCHED his third stage win of this year’s Tour, finishing nine seconds clear of Alberto Contador in today’s 32-kilometre individual time trial. With three racing stages left before Sunday’s ceremonial ride into Paris, Froome leads the GC by over four and a half minutes.

How it happened: Today’s time trial course featured two Category 2 climbs and so many of the riders opted to use their road bikes rather than specialist time trial bikes. Some afternoon rain made life a little bit more difficult for those in the middle order but by the time the GC leaders took to the road, it had largely dried out.

Contador’s time of 51’42″ was one second quicker than Joaquin Rodriguez, and enough to lift him above Bauke Mollema in the GC standings after the Dutchman hit a barrier close to the finish and dropped down to fourth overall.

But it was Froome who stole the show again, even taking time to switch from his road bike to his time trial bike before the 20 kilometre time check. He powered on to finish in 51’33″, nine seconds ahead of Contador.

The big winner: Chris Froome. A bad day today could have left him a bit more vulnerable with two mountain-top finishes still to come but instead of merely defending the yellow jersey, he went all out and stretched his lead even further.

The big loser: Jean-Christophe Peraud. The Frenchman, who started the day ninth in the GC, sustained a hairline fracture in his collarbone after falling during a recon of the course this morning. Not to be deterred, Peraud took his place in the time trial but had a second crashing fall two kilometres from the line which forced him to retire from the race.

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Who is wearing what jersey?

  • Yellow (Overall): Chris Froome
  • Green (Points): Peter Sagan
  • Polka-Dot (Mountains): Mikel Nieve Iturralde
  • White (Young Rider): Nairo Quintana Rojas

What about the Irish? Daniel Martin came home in 32nd, 3’22″ behind Froome, and holds on to his top 10 place in the GC standings. Nicolas Roche only managed to finish 150th, 7’13″ back, but stays 34th in the overall standings.

What happens tomorrow then? The battle for the yellow jersey might be done and dusted but tomorrow’s stage should still be a doozy. It’s the 172-kilometre slog from Gap to Alpe d’Huez.

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Niall Kelly

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