| | |
Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome stormed to a Team Sky 1-2 in the stage nine time trial at the Tour de France.
The British duo set the timing screens ablaze throughout the 41.5-kilometre test from Arc-et-Senans to Besancon in an incredible show of strength.
Wiggins, resplendent in the yellow skinsuit was quickest through both intermediate splits before setting a final time of 51 minutes and 24 seconds, 35 up on Froome to ensure a Team Sky 1-3 at the top of the general classification.
Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) fought hard and placed sixth on the day, 1:43 down on Wiggins to split the pair heading into the race day. Wiggins now holds an advantage of 1:53 over the Australian with Froome just 14 seconds further back.
Earlier Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) had laid down a marker on the rolling course with a time of 52:21 but the Swiss rider was unable to fend off Wiggins and Froome, his time holding on for third quickest on the day.
After claiming his first Tour de France stage victory Wiggins admitted the GC was the main objective of the day.
He said: "We're nine days into the Tour now and there were two tough stages before today. Everyone was tired last night and you never know how you're going to recover. Time trialling's what I do best though. I get into my zone, know exactly the routine I have to go through during the stage and I felt great today. The minute I turned the first pedal stroke on the warm-up I felt fantastic so I knew I was on a good one.
"This is what we've trained for. Sean was saying to me on the radio in the last 10km - 'think of all those hours, all those sacrifices you've made' - this is what that was all for and that really motivated me. All the hard work during the winter, missing my children's birthdays being on training camps and things - this is what it's all for - these moments.
"I didn't set out today for the stage win, it was a battle for the GC, but to get the stage win is a bonus and that's fantastic as well."
Backing up a sensational time trial performance at last year's Vuelta a Espana, Froome was also happy to clock such a competitive time.
"There's no tactics on days like today," he said. "Time trials are by far the hardest event in cycling. You just have to go as fast as you can and turn yourself inside out to get the best time possible. In terms of the race information I was getting in my ear, it's good to know you're putting in a fast time but then you've also got to be careful you've not started too fast and overcook it so it's a very fine line to gauge that effort.
"Bradley's time was quite a bit faster than mine but I'm really happy with the performance I put in. I gave it everything I had and that's all I could do. It was a big performance we put in and there could be a bit of a celebration later. There's still a long way to go before I can start thinking about a podium position, I'll just take it day by day from here."
RACE OF TRUTH
Fastest of the early runners, Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) saw his run of bad luck continue as the world time trial champion punctured shortly after the start. The German was still able to set the quickest time, but his effort was immediately under threat.
Cancellara swept to the top of the standings for the time being but was run extremely close by Tejay Van Garderen (BMC Racing), the young American going quicker through the splits before giving way at the line. Fourth on the stage was enough to move the 23-year-old back into the white jersey.
Michael Rogers was the next Team Sky rider home in 27th spot, with Christian Knees (86th), Edvald Boasson Hagen (92nd), Richie Porte (95th), Bernhard Eisel (153rd) and Mark Cavendish (161st).
Shouting on encouragement from the team car was Sports Director Sean Yates, the Brit, who is no stranger to the yellow jersey or the Tour,
“Bradley and Froomey delivered what they promised and what they’ve been working towards all year. It was a top drawer performance. It’s never been done before in British cycling and you can’t get much bigger than that.
“It’s a repeat of what we’ve been doing all year. We started out taking it day by day, treating it just as we would any other race and it was a continuation of the same theme.
“Our goal is still to have the jersey in Paris. That means not jeopardising Bradley’s GC position. We’re going to try and do that in the best way possible. It’s the best ever performance by a Brit in the sport. It’s up there with the greats in my opinion. There are still 11 stages to go and a lot of teams who haven’t won a stage. For sure they will be trying.”
1 Bradley Wiggins (Sky Procycling) 0:51:24
2 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:00:35
3 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) RadioShack-Nissan 0:00:57
4 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:01:06
5 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-QuickStep 0:01:24
6 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:01:43
7 Peter Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma-QuickStep 0:01:59
8 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:02:07
9 Denis Menchov (Rus) Katusha Team 0:02:08
10 Andreas Klöden (Ger) RadioShack-Nissan 0:02:09
General classification after stage 9
1 Bradley Wiggins (Sky Procycling)
2 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team
3 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling