German rider Tony Martin broke ahead early and comfortably held on to win the hilly ninth stage of the Tour de France on Sunday, while Frenchman Tony Gallopin took the yellow jersey from overnight leader Vincenzo Nibali of Italy.
The 29-year-old German, a three-time world time trial champion, broke away with specialist climber Alessandro De Marchi of Italy.
"The objective was to win the stage. There was a chance to do it and I felt good, my legs felt good," Martin said. "I knew it would be one of my rare chances to win a stage."
The 170-kilometer (105.4-mile) trek from Gerardmer to Mulhouse — in the mid-sized Vosges mountain range near the German...