For the first time, Tony Martin has won a different stage than a time trial at the Tour de France but it looked like a time trial as he used the mid mountains stage in the Vosges to ride away with Alessandro De Marchi for 90 kilometres and solo for 59 kilometres! It was an enormous exploit by the German world champion for time trial but not the only amazing achievement of this eventful day as Frenchman Tony Gallopin took over from Vincenzo Nibali in the overall lead.
Voeckler appears at the front again
It didn’t last more than five kilometers before a breakaway took shape in the first climb of the day, the col de la Schlucht. It was made of Danny Pate (Sky), Jesus Herrada (Movistar), Joaquim Rodriguez and Simon Spilak (Katusha), Sergio Paulinho (Tinkoff), Alessandro De Marchi (Cannondale), Laurens ten Dam (Belkin), Jan Bakelants (OPQS), Ben Gastauer (AG2R), Tom Dumoulin (Giant), Kristjan Durasek (Lampre), Arthur Vichot (FDJ), Tony Gallopin (Lotto), Amaël Moinard (BMC), Perrig Quémeneur, Cyril Gautier and Thomas Voeckler (Europcar), Dani Navarro and Nicolas Edet (Cofidis), Michael Albasini (Orica), Danilo Wyss (IAM), Leo König and José Mendes (NetApp) at Brice Feillu (Bretagne). Soon after Voeckler passed in first position at the top, the front group was reeled in but De Marchi rode away again at km 16 and was rejoined by Tony Martin (OPQS). In that order, the duo took the KOM points at the top of col du Wettstein.
Strong showing by De Marchi and Martin
A chasing group comprised José Joaquin Rojas (Movistar), Joaquim Rodriguez and Simon Spilak (Katusha), Sergio Paulinho (Tinkoff), Kristjan Koren (Cannondale), Lars Boom and Steven Kruijswijk (Belkin), Mikaël Chérel and Matteo Montaguti (AG2R), Tom Dumoulin (Giant), Rafa Valls (Lampre), Matthieu Ladagnous (FDJ), Tony Gallopin (Lotto), Amaël Moinard and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), Pierre Rolland, Cyril Gautier, Alexandre Pichot, Perrig Quémeneur and Kevin Reza (Europcar), Fabian Cancellara (Trek), Dani Navarro and Nicolas Edet (Cofidis), Christian Meier (Orica), Sylvain Chavanel (IAM), Tiago Machado (NetApp), Brice Feillu and Jean-Marc Bideau (Bretagne). Those 28 riders didn’t sufficiently coordinate their efforts, which allowed De Marchi and Martin to keep on racing hard at the front.
Martin on the move in the Markstein
With 59km to go and nine more kilometers to climb to reach the summit of the Markstein, Martin distanced De Marchi and started an impressive time trial effort. Since the côte de Gueberschwihr (km 86), Gallopin was the virtual leader of the Tour de France. Vincenzo Nibali kept the situation under control with his Astana team-mates setting the pace of the bunch but the Italian looked happy to get rid of the yellow jersey. Gallopin rode away in the downhill to Cernay after the Grand Ballon, eventually rejoined by Chérel and brought back by his former companions but he did enough to maintain high the pace of the group and claim the first yellow jersey of his career. Europcar finished the job to reposition Rolland higher on GC. Martin never weakened and kept an advance of 2.44 over the chasing group on the finishing line in Mulhouse where Tony Gallopin took the first Maillot Jaune of his career.