Yellow Jersey holder Chris Froome increased his overall lead at the 2016 Tour de France as Tom Dumoulin claimed victory during a sombre stage 13 on Friday (15 July).
Questions were originally asked as to whether the 37.5km individual time trial from Bourg-Saint-Andeol to La Caverne du Pont-d'Arc should be cancelled following the harrowing atrocity 300km south in Nice last night that left 84 people dead when a lorry struck a crowd following Bastille Day firework celebrations on the Promenade des Anglais. However, it eventually went ahead with enhanced security after discussions between race organisers and local authorities.
Froome was involved in truly farcical scenes 1km from the finish of stage 12 yesterday, when a collision involving a television motorbike, Richie Porte and Bauke Mollema wrecked his bicycle and saw him tackle a portion of the infamous, but shortened, Mont Ventoux climb on foot.
He lost approximately one-and-a-half minutes as a result of the commotion and slid down to sixth in the general classification before common sense prevailed and the race jury revised the results to keep him in front.
Released last today with the time trial conducted in reverse order, Team Sky's two-time winner and defending champion clocked a finishing time of 51.18 to trail Dumoulin by one minute and three seconds. That was enough to extend his overall advantage to one minute and 47 seconds over Trek-Segafredo's Mollema and two minutes and 45 seconds clear of fellow Briton Adam Yates. Key rival Nairo Quintana is now almost three minutes off the leading pace in fourth.
"This is definitely a time for people to stand together," Monaco-based Froome said afterwards. "It definitely puts things into perspective for us. I'm happy with how it went but everyone's thoughts are with the people in Nice. It's a special place for me, close to where I'm based, and I can't imagine what everyone is going through."
For time-trial specialist Dumoulin, stage 13 was his second success of this year's tour. The 25-year-old Team Giant-Alpecin rider, who has also claimed individual victories at the Vuelta a Espana and Giro d'Italia in recent months, battled the elements to secure a gruelling maiden stage win in the mountains of Andorra on Sunday (10 July).
In a mark of respect for the victims of the Nice attack, the usual podium presentation and celebration was replaced by Froome, Dumoulin, best young rider Yates, Green Jersey holder Peter Sagan and King of the Mountains frontrunner Thomas de Gendt standing on stage for a minute's silence. Their flower bouquets were then placed on the podium.
Saturday's schedule revolves around a 208.5km flat ride from Montelimar to Villars-les-Dombes that is likely to favour the sprinters. Proceedings return to the mountains on Sunday between Bourg-en-Bresse and Culoz.