German Tony Martin grabbed a heroic solo stage 9 win on Sunday at the Tour de France. Photo by Graham Watson
Sunday’s stage 9 run from Gerardmer to Mulhouse saw a shake-up at the top of the GC standings, with France’s Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Belisol) taking over possession of the yellow jersey. Gallopin was part of a 28-rider breakaway that finished more than three minutes ahead of the main bunch, including previous GC leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana). The Frenchman was best placed rider among the group coming into the day, which netted him the overall race lead.
Of course, Gallopin poses little threat to the true GC favorites. Instead Nibali and the other top contenders were content to sit back and save their legs for Monday’s monster day, which includes seven rated climbs and finishes with the cat. 1 grind up La Planche des Belles Filles. For now Gallopin owns a 1:34 led over Nibali, with fellow breakaway rider Tiago Machado (Netapp-Endura) third at 2:40.
Meanwhile, German Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) put his world class time trialing skills to use, escaping for a solo win at the end of the 170km ride that included six categorized climbs. After breaking clear with Alessandro De Marchi (Cannondale) on the descent of the first climb, Martin dropped the Italian and rode what was essentially a 59km time trial.
Gallopin was part of a chase group that came together about 35km into the stage. They couldn’t reel Martin in, but built a big enough gap to push the Frenchman into the yellow jersey, which will be extra special on Monday. It’s Bastille Day, France’s version of the Fourth of July.
STAGE 9 RESULTS
GENERAL CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE 9
Yellow Jersey: Tony Gallopin (FRA), Lotto-Belisol
Green Jersey: Peter Sagan (SVK), Cannondale
Polka Dot Jersey: Tony Martin (GER), Omega Pharma-Quick Step
White Jersey: Michal Kwiatkowski (POL), Omega Pharma – Quick-Step