Svein Tuft Time Trials to Sixth Place at Mont-Saint-MichelWed 10 Jul 2013
Svein Tuft set the early fast time at the first of two individual time trials at the Tour de France. The Canadian covered the 33km effort in 38’04 and enjoyed a lengthy spell in the hot seat at Mont-Saint-Michel before first Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil-DCM) and then Time Trial World Champion Tony Martin set quicker times. By stage end, Tuft had slotted into sixth place on stage 11, 1’35 behind Martin.
“The goal today was top five,” said Sport Director Matt White. “Svein was right there in the mix. Obviously Chris Froome and Tony Martin were in another league. Everyone else in the top ten posted similar times.”
“These are the best guys in the world,” White added. “Svein had a solid ride compared to them. He’s very happy with the way he rode today.”
The former eight-time Canadian National Time Trial Champion was the second rider to race. More than six hours separated the first starter from the last starter.
“The guys who rode in the afternoon definitely had more favourable weather conditions,” noted White. “The wind picked up and the later starters had a much stronger tailwind.”
Whilst Tuft was firmly focused on the time trial, White directed the rest of the Tour de France squad to conserve energy for other objectives.
“We only had Svein going hard,” noted White. “The opinion we take as directors is that we’re at a race for a result. We’re here to achieve something on the days that suit us. Today suited Svein, and he rode full gas. For the others, it doesn’t matter if they finish 15th or 50th when they have other more important goals that they can achieve on other days.”
“Cam [Meyer] had a very hectic week,” White added. “We have other ambitions for him later in the Tour. The time trial today wasn’t one of our goals for him. He was under instructions to ride within himself today, and he did.”
While Froome solidified his hold on the yellow jersey today, the first race against the clock has set the scene for a fierce battle for the lesser steps on the overall podium. White expects the stages in the Alps to be hotly contested.
“There is going to be a tight battle between second and tenth overall,” projected White. “We now have a chance for the sprinters and opportunists to shine until we get to Ventoux on Sunday. It should be an interesting Alps with how close the spread is between the top guys after Froome.”