Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) won the stage 7 time trial in Worb at the Tour de Suisse on Friday.
The German powered over the 24.7-kilometer course and finished in 31:37, 22 seconds ahead of Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Shimano) and 28 seconds faster than reigning world road champion Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida).
Martin remains in the overall race lead, a position he has held since winning the stage 1 time trial. He could lose the yellow jersey in Saturday’s 219km stage, which ends with a Cat. 3 and an HC climb. Sunday’s finale has four climbs, including two Cat. 1s, a Cat. 2, and then an HC at the end.
Dumoulin is second in the GC standings at 28 seconds back and Costa is now 1:05 behind in third.
American Lawson Craddock (Giant-Shimano), third overall at the Amgen Tour of California last month, finished sixth on the stage, 59 seconds behind Martin, and now sits seventh overall, 1:42 down on GC.
Martin’s victory is 42nd for the team, in three disciplines, in 2014.
“I felt great on my Specialized Shiv today,” Martin said “It was a normal set up with the 58-tooth chainring, because I knew there was some time that could be made on the final descent. And with this setup I won and earned a nice gap on the other contenders.”
Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing), a four-time world time trial champion, set the fastest time of the day early — he was the second rider to roll off the start ramp. His time held up until Costa lit up the course, stopping the clock 13 seconds faster than the Swiss rider.
Peter Sagan (Cannondale), who began the day third overall at 10 seconds behind Martin, slipped to sixth and now sits 1:36 behind after placing 15th in Friday’s stage.
Henao crashes out; Verbier on the horizon
Sergio Henao (Sky) crashed during a recon ride before the stage and pulled out of the race with what several reports say is a broken knee. Reports say there was a vehicle involved in the incident.
Sky confirmed Henao was hurt and abandoned the race.
“Sergio Henao was involved in a training accident and will not compete in today’s TT. He is being assessed by team doctor. Details to follow,” the team posted on its Twitter feed.
Former world champion Tom Boonen of Belgium, who is still suffering from a hip injury suffered in a crash last week, also failed to make the starting line.
Saturday’s eighth and penultimate stage is a 219km ride from Delemont to Verbier, which finishes at the Valais ski resort.
“Now for the weekend, anything is possible,” Martin said. “As for the stage tomorrow, it’s easier of the two stages. I’m familiar with the Verbier finish from the Tour de France. The last climb I hope I can treat it like a TT, find a good rhythm and hang on to the other guys. I have the jersey, but it will not be easy. There are a lot of competitors, even the entire top 20 of the general classification. But, the morale is really good, we’ve been working hard the whole week. The team has done a great job supporting me. I will give it 110 percent to honor this yellow jersey and the effort of my teammates to keep me in it.”