Chris Froome and Richie Porte brought Team Sky’s 2012 season to a close by finishing in 17th and 21st positions respectively at the Chrono des Nations.
The duo clocked times of 1hr 04min 43sec and 1hr 06min 07sec on the undulating 48.5km time trial circuit to the south of Les Herbiers after Tony Martin had defended his title in comprehensive style.
The two-time world champion proved the fastest rider through both intermediate time checks before crossing the line in 58min 07sec which proved 41 seconds faster than Omega Pharma – Quick-Step team-mate Sylvain Chavanel.
BMC rider Taylor Phinney rounded off the podium by stopping the clock just one second down on the reigning French champion, while Team Sky’s new signing Dario Cataldo (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) was 13th after his time of 1hr 03min 33sec.
The race had taken part under cloudy yet dry conditions and Carlos Oyarzun (Equipe du Chili) set down an early marker with his time of 1hr 01min 42sec.
Almost half the field had crossed the finish line before Oyarzun was knocked off top position by Chavanel, who became the first rider to smash the one-hour mark after edging out his one-minute man Jeremy Roy (FDJ-BigMat) at the line.
And that was how things stayed until the closing stages when Martin surged home to wrap up his eighth victory of the season.
Froome brought the race to a close moments later by posting his third successive 17th-placed split of the day, and immediately afterwards told us: “I’ve taken a month off since the World Championships so it was nice to stretch the legs again.
“I’m obviously not in the same condition as I was during the height of the season but I’ve really enjoyed being part of this event and it was a nice way to round off my campaign.
“Tony Martin’s come out and shown us all once again why he’s world time trial champion, and he deserved his victory.
“There was no wind or rain out there today, and the course was a really testing one. You have to have good legs to get round it in a competitive time and it’s definitely one I’d like to come back to in better condition.”