Team Sky’s Chris Froome increased his lead in the 100th edition of the Tour de France on Wednesday following a second-place finish in stage 11’s 33 kilometre individual time trial ending at the stunning Mount-Saint-Michel.
The 28-year-old pre-race favourite, who was born in Kenya but rides under a British licence, was the last to go.
And all was looking good for another victory when he clocked the fastest times at both intermediate time checks.
But his challenge for top honours fizzled out in the final 11 kilometres and eventually crossed the line 12 seconds down on stage winner Tony Martin, who had been nervously waiting in the wings.
Martin was in fine form considering his injuries from day one.
The world champion suffered concussion, a contusion on his left lung, widespread bruising and a deep cut on his left elbow following a crash in the opening stage of the race.
But the Quickstep rider battled on and his efforts paid off in the time trial.
He completed the stage in a winning time of 36 minutes and 29 seconds.
Belgian Thomas De Gendt of the Vacansoleil-DCM team claimed a surprising third place just over a minute off the winners pace.
Froome not only maintained his place at the top of the general standings but increased his lead over Spaniard Alejandro Valverde to 3 minutes and 25 seconds.
Stage 12 is a relatively flat 218 kilometre ride to Tours.
Special report: 100 years of the Tour de France