It was a sombre day at the Tour de France, but there was still some interesting action on the stage 13 time trial
The Tour de France pays its respects to those in Nice
But the overwhelming feeling among the riders and organisation was that the terrorists who carry out such acts shouldn’t be allowed to win.
Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) dedicated his win to those who lost their lives and were injured in the Nice attack, while yellow jersey holder Chris Froome (Team Sky) also downplayed the significance of a bike race at a time like this.
As a mark of respect, the podium celebrations were cancelled, with all the leaders of the classifications given their jerseys back stage and entering the podium together to take part in a minute’s silence.
Dumoulin set a marker down for Rio
Dumoulin didn’t just win this time trial, he absolutely smashed it.
Before Froome crossed the line, Dumoulin was over 90 seconds faster than his nearest rival, Nelson Oliveira (Movistar) and had two-and-a-half minute lead over the man in 10th.
Dumoulin always said he wasn’t at the Tour to challenge for the general classification, but to get in shape for the time trial at the Olympic Games in August.
The hilly parcours in Rio isn’t totally different from that on show in the Ardèche, so the Dutchman will be confident of his form heading into the Games.
While many of the best time trialists are on show at the Tour de France, not all of them will be in Rio – Tejay van Garderen (BMC) will not be there, for example.
Froome will still be his main rival, but if this stage is anything to go by the gold medal will be going to the Dutch.
Watch: Tour de France stage 13 highlights
Froome did just what he needed to
After Thursday’s exploits on Mont Ventoux you could have forgiven Froome for being a little bit exhausted. Not only did he have to run up the mountain after breaking his bike, he then had to sweat it out while the jury decided whether he would keep his yellow jersey.
But he put all that out of his mind and got ready for the time trial and did exactly what was required to extend his lead in the general classification.
Had he been fresh, he could probably have challenged Dumoulin for the stage win, but coming off the back of 12 hard days of racing he will be happy to settle for second and some big gaps over his rivals.
The ball is very much in Quintana’s court now to lay down some attacks on the yellow jersey. He didn’t have it in his legs on Mont Ventoux but he’ll have to find something before the Alps in order to avoid a repeat of last year.
He won’t be able to make up a nearly three-minute deficit on just one stage, so it will take a sustained effort from Movistar if Quintana is to win the yellow jersey this year.
The Colombian’s defecit to Froome is only 10 seconds better than it was at this point in the race last year, but he left it far too late to get back any time. He won’t be able to make that mistake this time.
Adam Yates continued to defy expectations
Yates isn’t the most noted time trial in the world but he more than impressed in the white jersey on stage 13. Sitting second overall, many expected Yates to plummet down the general classification after the TT, but instead solidified his top-10 position.
He finished three minutes down on Dumoulin, but crucially crossed the line faster than Quintana and he’s had the better of the Colombian in many of the mountain stages this year as well.
He’s not here for a top-10, remember, but if he keeps performing like this then it will be hard for anyone to supplant him from the top five.
The time trial world champion goes missing
It almost certainly wasn’t the fact that he wasn’t good enough, but more the case that he’ll have been told to save his legs for the coming days to help navigate Froome through some tricky stages.
Had he been given the go-ahead to go full gas in this TT he would certainly have finished closer to Dumoulin than 7-33 down.