Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland/Saxo Bank), who won the prologue on the first day of the Tour de France, a 5.5 mile time trial through Rotterdam, won the ninth stage of the Tour, a 32.3 mile (52 kilometers) time trial, from Bordeaux to Pauillac. He finished the virtually flat course, which paralleled the Gironde River, in 1:00:56, averaging 31.7 mph (51 km/h).
Bert Grabsch (Germany/HTC-Columbia), who finished third, started the time trial off, establishing the time to beat at 1:02:44. His countryman and teammate, Tony Martin, who started the time trial 27th, eclipsed Grabsch’s time by 1:13, posting 1:01:13. Starting 39th, Cancellara took the lead after clipping 17 seconds off Martin’s time.
Top 10 Finishers:
1. Fabian CANCELLARA (Switzerland/Saxo Bank) 1:00:56
2. Tony MARTIN (Germany/HTC – Columbia) + 00:17
3. Bert GRABSCH (Germany/HTC-Columbia)+ 01:48
4. Ignatas KONOVALOVAS (Lithuania/Cervelo) + 02:34
5. David ZABRISKIE (USA/Garmin) + 03:00
6. Koos MOERENHOUT (Netherlands/Rabobank) + 03:03
7. Vasil KIRYIENKA (Belarus/Caisse d’Epargne) + 03:10
8. Maarten TJALLINGII (Netherlands/Rabobank) + 03:21
9. Bradley WIGGINS (England/Sky Pro Cycling) + 03: 33
10. Geraint THOMAS (Wales/Sky Pro Cycling) + 03:38
The top contenders, Alberto Contador (Spain/Astana) and Andy Schleck (Luxembourg/Saxo Bank), respectively finished 35th and 44th. Contador posted 1:06:34, while Schleck clocked in at 1:07:14. As a result, the Spaniard has virtually clinched his third Tour victory, as he increased his margin to 39 seconds over the Luxembouger.
“After donning the yellow jersey,” the Associated Press reported that Contador “wiped away tears and took a deep breath, his hand trembling as he made his trademark gesture to the crowd — pretending to shoot with his finger.” “I think it’s the first Tour that has given me so much emotion,” he told the AP, “you can’t imagine.”
“Beating Contador is not easy,” Schleck told the AP, “but I tried everything. I am happy, and I’ll come back next year to win.”
Denis Menchov (Russia/Rabobank) began the stage fourth overall, trailing Samuel Sanchez (Spain/Euskatel) by 21 seconds for third place. The Russian beat the Spaniard by two minutes in the time trial to take over third place by 1:39. Menchov finished eleventh in 1:04:47 and Sanchez finished 40th in 1:06:47.
Also as a result of the time trial, Ryder Hesjdal (Canada/Garmin) moved up to seventh from eighth place. The Canadian finished the time trial 52nd in 1:07:36. Joaquin Rodriguez (Spain/Katyusha), who Hesjdal pushed back to eighth overall, finished the time trial 154th in 1:11:13.
The Top 10 Overall:
1. Alberto Contador (Spain/Astana) 89:16:27
2. Andy Schleck (Luxembourg/Saxo Bank) + 0:39
3. Denis Menchov (Russia/Rabobank) + 02:01
4. Samuel Sanchez (Spain/Euskatel) + 03:40
5. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Belgium/Omega Pharma) + 06:54
6. Robert Gesink (Netherlands/Rabobank) + 09:31
7. Ryder Hesjdal (Canada/Garmin) + 10:15
8. Joaquin Rodriguez (Spain/Katyusha) + 11:37
9. Roman Kreuziger (Czech Republic/Liquigas) + 11:54
10. Chris Horner (USA/RadioShack) + 12:02
Lance Armstrong (USA/RadioShack) finished the stage 67th in 1:08:01 and remains 23rd overall, 39:20 behind the leader. His team, RadioShack remains in first place, ahead of Caisse d’Epargne. The AP reported that Armstrong, who once dominated the time trials, “returned to a RadioShack team car and left without speaking to reporters.”
The Top 10 Teams:
1. RadioShack 267:55:00
2. Caisse d’Epargne + 9:15
3. Rabobank + 27:49
4. AG2R + 41:10
5. Omega Pharma + 51:01
6. Astana + 56:16
7. Quick Step + 1:06:23
8. Euskaltel + 1:23:02
9. Liquigas + 1:29:14
10. Bbox Bouygues 1:54:18
The Tour concludes tomorrow with a 63.7-mile (102.52 kilometers) ride from the Longjumeau commune to Paris. Three short hills characterize the first half of the course before the riders enter Paris for the final jaunt down the Champs-Elysees.
Associated Press, “Contador Seals Tour Win in Time Trial,” ESPN (July 24, 2010)
ESPN, Cycling 2010, ESPN website