BRITAIN’S Chris Froome more than doubled his Tour de France lead after finishing second in yesterday’s time trial, though stage 11 was overshadowed by a spectator throwing urine at compatriot Mark Cavendish.
Froome finished 12 seconds behind stage winner Tony Martin in 36 minutes 41 seconds, extending his overall advantage as main Tour rivals Alejandro Valverde (+3.25), Bauke Mollema (+3.37) and Alberto Contador (+3.54) lost ground on the Team Sky rider.
But an incident earlier in the day saw 2011 world champion Cavendish, who on Tuesday collided with Tom Veelers and sent the Dutchman crashing to the ground, attacked by a spectator lining the streets of the 33km course between Mont-Saint-Michel and Avranches.
And while the Omega Pharma-Quick Step rider opted not to comment on the incident, his team manager, Patrick Lefevere, condemned the actions.
“I regret this, I always felt that cycling fans were gentlemen, enthusiastic people,” he said.
“Mark is sad, he’s not upset, just sad. I cannot blame anyone, there are 100,000 or 200,000 people on the road and one person decided to do this.”
Cavendish will hope for an incident-free stage 12 when the Tour resumes today over 218km from Fougeres to Tours, in a predominantly flat course that should favour the sprinters and boost the Manxman’s hopes of winning the green points jersey.
And, with more than half of the 21-stage race completed, Froome looks a strong contender to become the second consecutive British rider to win the Tour following Sir Bradley Wiggins’ triumph in 2012, also as part of Team Sky.
However, the 28-year-old is taking nothing for granted.
“I think I am going to need every second I can get the way everyone is riding,” said Froome.
“I am really happy having extended my advantage on the other big rivals.”