Chris Froome (Sky) gained more time on his direct rivals in the Tour de France's Mont-Saint-Michel time trial today. Though just missing the stage win by 12 seconds, he added more than two minutes to his lead.
"Clearly, a stage win in the Tour would be a big achievement," Froome said, "but my goal was to gain time on my GC rivals, so I'm very happy I've done that."
Froome finished the 33-kilometre time trial with a time of 36'41", leaving him in second place and 12 seconds back on Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step). He led through the first two time checks, but slowed over the final and lost to World Champion, Martin.
Froome's goal, however, kept his eye on the overall standings. "A time trial is always a nervous day for a GC rider, there's a lot that can go wrong," added Froome. "I was really happy to get through it and extend my time on the GC rivals."
Froome put more than two minutes on all of the GC favourites. Bauke Mollema (Belkin) finished 2'05" minutes back, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) 2'12", while Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) and Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) finished 2'15" and 2'30" respectively behind. Froome now leads the overall classification by 3'25" over Valverde, 3'37" over Mollema and 3'54" over Contador.
The next classification battle will likely come on the Mont Ventoux stage on Sunday. Froome, even with a three-minute advantage, stays attentive.
"Like we saw last weekend, all the teams are going to throw everything that they have at us," said Froome. "We are just going to have to deal with that the best we can with the team that we have."
"Unfortunately, Richie [Porte] slipped back in the GC, but I think he showed today [fourth at 1'21" minutes] that he's certainly not out of this race," added Froome. "I expect him to be in the mountains along with Pete Kennaugh when we are in the Alps."
"There are a few back-to-back mountain days that will be very hard in the Alps. Looking at the GC, I'll have to keep an eye on Valverde, but really there are several riders who are within striking distance of my yellow jersey."
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