Germany’s Tony Martin time trialed to victory in stage 9 of the Tour de France while Frenchman Tony Gallopin took over the yellow jersey. It was an intense day in the Vosge mountains– 105-miles from Gerardmer to Mulhouse with six climbs and a 25-mile descent to the finish.
Martin attacked early in the race on the Col du Wettstein with Italian Alessandro De Marchi (Cannondale). With 35 miles to go, the world time trial champion put the hammer down but De Marchi could not match his power, and Martin pedaled alone for the rest of the race.
“We all knew that a breakaway could work today,” Martin said. “When we were together with Alessandro De Marchi, I told him he could take the mountain points. Then I was aware that 28 guys were 30 seconds behind us. I decided that it didn’t matter what would happen, I’d better go full gas. I knew there would be a point at which they would give up.”
That group of 28 riders included Gallopin (Lotto-Belisol), who was three and a half minutes behind race leader Vicenzo Nibali at the start of the day. Gallopin took the overall lead after Nibali’s Astana team refused to chase the break. Can’t blame them. There are still two weeks of tough mountain stages left in the Tour.