Dan Martin: Tour gets serious today with painful, explosive racing

Posted on: July 11th, 2019
Dan Martin was forced to go deep for the final hour yesterday. Did that take some of his reserves or will it prove good preparation for going deep on today’s first big test?

Dan Martin has explained what happened to him in the finale of yesterday’s stage 5 at the Tour de France, adding he expected a huge stage today; to Planche des Belles Filles on stage 6.

“My gears just stopped working and I had to change bikes,” he said of being forced to stop yesterday before the final two climbs.

“The guys were great, they were right there. It was almost the worst moment of the race – two minutes later would have been the worst moment.

“It was a good team effort and hopefully that’s the end of my mechanicals.

“Today was about saving as much energy as possible. Hitting those climbs today was a good little taster for the legs.

“Tomorrow is a really big stage. It’s going to be a really hard day – possibly the hardest of the Tour – and everyone will be fresh and explosive.”

Dan Martin the last time he raced up the Planche des Belles Filles, on stage 5 in 2017, he was 2nd and was beaten by Fabio Aru, who is now his team mate (video below).

Back then Martin said the stage was not that hard, adding today was a much different proposition.

Today will be the fourth time he Tour has raced up the final climb that hosts the finish and the three men who have won the stages so far are all Grand Tour winners; Aru, Chris Froome and Vincenzo Nibali.

Dan Martin expected today to be “brutal” and said the profile suggested it would be one of the hardest stages of the Tour as there were almost 4,000 metres of climbing.

There was now an added gravel section and Dan Martin believed the last extra kilometre and six climbs along the route would be lead to “pain”.

He believed while some riders would drop out of contention in the overall, but the race would be won today.

The Irish ride added that yesterday’s stage, which featured some climbing, may have prepared more of the riders for today’s stage in preparing their legs of the terrain.

Today’s stage 6 at the Tour de France is one that can really suit Dan Martin

Martin suffered a mechanical yesterday and was forced to stop and get a new bike. By the time he got sorted he was a long way back.

And though his team mates got him back on, they were forced to chase over the final two climbs of the day.

The fact the breakaway was still clear, and was being chased quite hard, when he had his problem meant he really had to fight to get back on.

Whether that extra effort dented his reserves for today, or was perhaps good preparation for it, remains to be seen.

However, riders often speak of a shock to their system on the first real mountain stage of a Grand Tour.

And it is possible Martin may have lessened that shock for today by being forced to go hard yesterday.

However, it’s also possible yesterday’s stage took a bit out of him before today’s hard stage, though that will soon become clear.

Dan Martin goes into today’s stage as one of the hot favourites and may well take another Grand Tour victory.

With two Tour stages already in his palmares, on a good day for him the terrain today, and coming as it does at this point of the race, really suits him.

He believed riders would be nervous, many would still be fresh and he expected explosive racing.

And Dan Martin said he believed the current yellow jersey, Deceuninck-QuickStep’s Julian Alaphilippe, was strong enough to hold onto the race lead.