Tour de France stage 9: Tony Martin wins in Mulhouse

Gallopin fights for race lead

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Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) soloed to victory in Mulhouse on stage 9 of the Tour de France, while Frenchman Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Belisol) will wear the yellow jersey on Bastille Day after he finished among the chasing group.

Martin went clear with Alessandro De Marchi (Cannondale) on the descent of the first climb, the Col de la Schlucht, before dropping the Italian on the principal difficulty of the day, the category 1 Markstein, with 59km remaining.

From there, the stage turned into a long time trial for Martin. The German dealt comfortably with the final climb of the Grand Ballon and then maintained his large buffer on the long descent and subsequent flat run-in to Mulhouse.

Gallopin was part of a 28-man chasing group that formed 35km into the stage, and while they never succeeded in making contact with Martin, they did build up a sizable advantage over the yellow jersey group, which was led by Vincenzo Nibali’s Astana teammates throughout.

Gallopin began the stage 3:27 down on Nibali and he had already done enough to move into the provisional overall lead with 70km remaining. By the final ascent of the Grand Ballon, Gallopin’s dwindling group trailed Martin by three minutes, but they had a five-minute lead over the main peloton.

The Frenchman forced the pace on the way into Mulhouse to ensure his spell in the maillot jaune, though in truth there was little need. A brief probe from Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) apart, the overall contenders called something of a truce and Astana seemed happy to concede the yellow jersey to Gallopin, at least temporarily.

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