CHORGES, France (Reuters) – Overall race leader Chris Froome produced a late burst of speed to win Wednesday’s individual time trial, securing his third victory of this year’s Tour de France.
Froome had been trailing rival Alberto Contador by 11 seconds at 20 km of the 32-km course which included two climbs, but, with his head down, the Briton forced more speed from his tired legs to take the line in 51 minutes and 33 seconds, nine faster than the Spaniard.
Contador, who stood at the finish line nervously watching Froome’s performance on a television screen, had to settle for second.
Fellow Spaniard Joaquin Rodriguez was third a further second behind.
Twice Tour winner Contador had something to cheer about after moving up one place to second in the overall standings although he is 4:34 behind Froome.
The unluckiest man of the day was France’s Jean-Christophe Peraud, who made it to the start of the stage despite suffering a fractured right collarbone in a training crash on the course, only to come off his bike and land heavily on his right side two km from the finish.
(Reporting by Julien Pretot, Editing By Alison Wildey)