Quick post, though I am not sure whether there is deeper meaning to be extracted from this stage. Tony Martin (drinker of  many cement filled bidons), current World Champion in the Individual Time Trial smashed everyone and won the 33km stage in what would have to be the most picturesque TT route in the world – to Mont-Saint-Michel. I can’t believe that I have visited this place from all my trips to France. What a setting!

tdf2013-etape_11_winner

Being quite far down in the overall ranking, he set what would be the unbeatable benchmark very early and would only have jitters when the Maillot Jaune – the Froome-dog (from the Empire known as Sky). There were some smashing rides from other riders who are always strong in the TT discipline, with the likes of Thomas De Gent, Richie Porte (switching back on after the disastrous second day he had in the Pyrenees), Michal Kwiatkowski (also from Omega Pharma- Quickstep), Svein Tuft (Orica GreenWedge), Chava(nel) (OPQ), and Jeremy Roy (from FDJ)

But the only one who came close to Martin was the Froome-dog in Yellow and belting it out to finish only 12 seconds behind. More importantly, he has gone and extended his lead over all his major GC rivals putting in at a minimum a minute of time over them. Very impressive, maybe Rupert Murdoch can start talking about that with his dodgy newspaper editors.

Points of Note and Interest

1. The Tourminator (Peter Sagan) monstered the TT ride. Could this guy really be the heir apparent to the Cannibal (Eddy Merckx)?

2. Roman Kreuziger (Saxo-Tinkoff) is definitely a second viable alternative to the meat eating El Pistolero (Contador). A conundrum that BMC were anticipating but never eventuated.

3. Can anyone challenge the Froome-dog from at least 3 minutes down? Valverde (from Movistar) at 3:25 down to Froome is within striking distance, but do we really want another tainted champion of the Tour.

4. Surely Evans is out of reach of a podium at 6:54 down. Which means A Schleck’s hopes are definitely dashed.

5. Michal Kwiatkowski, the young Polish rider is the real deal. He took back the Maillot Blanc off of Nairo Quintana (from Movistar)

6. The dark horses for the GC are Ten Dams and Mollema (from the Team formerly known as…) and they could launch a stinging attack in the Alpes.

 

As for Tony Martin – he rode at:

54.271km/hr – EPIC!

 

For a more serious assessment

CyclingNews – http://www.cyclingnews.com/tour-de-france/stage-11/results

VeloVoices – http://velovoices.com/2013/07/10/tdf-stage-11-martin-wins-as-froome-extends-gc-lead/

SBS Cycling Central – http://www.sbs.com.au/cyclingcentral/news/50002/Martin-wins-Mont-Saint-Michel-time-trial,-Froome-consolidates

The Cement Ladder – The Grey Jersey

Watching the toughest sportsmen in the world, I have decided to start a “cement” ranking that reflects truly great feats of endurance and the overcoming of pain (basically a bit of HTFU). Maybe ASO could make a special jersey, grey, for this category. Much cement was drunk for this stage and the points go to:

1. Tony Martin – for his bada$$ response to whether the crash early in the Tour affected his outlook – definitely not.

2. Richie Porte – bouncing back and showing that The Empire merely had a bad day (just like in Star Wars Episode IV – a new hope)

3. Michal Kwiatkowski – awesome display from such a young rider.

4. Peter Sagan – he didn’t try to get aero, he merely churned out more power.

5. Jens Voigt – because he is the Jensie, but he did have a bad day at the office today.

The Turbo Training Challenge

Another hiccup in the Turbo Challenge during this stage. I am now struggling just to stay awake to watch the stage, let alone jump on the bike. Will pick up again tomorrow.

Side note – I have a mate who is living the dream riding over in France with a bike tour and will be joining the stages when they swing over to the other side shortly. So far he has knocked down over 250km and climbed over 4,500m – Respect! Jealous!