SAINT-MALO, France (AFP) — A shake-up in the general classification could be on the cards in Wednesday’s 11th stage of the Tour de France, although Germany’s Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) is the outstanding favorite to win the individual time trial.
Martin is the reigning world champion in the discipline and will be determined to show just why he is the best in the business on the 33-kilometer ride from Avranches to Mont Saint-Michel, the tiny island and UNESCO World Heritage Site that is one of France’s most famous landmarks.
“I’m feeling good and I expect to win. If I don’t, I will be really disappointed,” said the German, who appears to have recovered sufficiently from nasty injuries suffered in a crash on stage one in Corsica.
Martin started well before the GC contenders and finished his ride in 10:21 to take the early lead.
Current yellow jersey wearer Chris Froome (Sky) may still be feeling a little fatigued after his weekend exertions in the Pyrénées but he will fancy his chances of doing well in the time trial, in contrast to his main rivals.
Froome starts the day 1:25 ahead of Spain’s Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) in the overall standings, while his expected main rival, Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff), is sixth at 1:51.
The Kenyan-born Froome, who will be last off the ramp, is hoping to maintain his advantage, if not extend it.
“The time trial will be a good opportunity for the general classification. I will hope to keep the advantage I have already,” he said.
This will be only the second time that a Tour stage has finished at Mont Saint-Michel, with the only previous occasion coming in 1990.