Stickybottle

Dan Martin in damage limitation at Tour with luck now on his side

Posted on: July 9th, 2018

Dan Martin’s luck has changed and now he faces his first really big test of Tour de France 2018; one he must pass.

 

Having complained of bad luck so often in the opening months of the season, the Gods have smiled on Dan Martin in the first two stages of the Tour de France.

He has been spared from any of the many crashes that have littered the course.

And when a number of favourites lost more than 50 seconds on stage 1, Martin was safely tucked into the bunch.

As a result, he is 51 seconds ahead of Chris Froome (Team Sky) and Richie Porte (BMC Racing).

Also in the same group as them on the opening stage was Simon Yates (Mitchelton Scott), along with Ion Izagirre (Bahrain Merida), Laurens ten Dam (Team Sunweb) and Domenico Pozzovivo (Bahrain Merida).

And 1:15 down on Dan Martin on the day was Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Egan Bernal (Team Sky).

The Irish rider finished safely in the bunch again on Sunday’s stage 2; once more avoiding any crashes.

Yellow jersey Fernando Gaviria (QuickStep) came down in a late spill that split the bunch. However, it occurred well inside the final 3km meaning nobody lost any time overall.

Peter Sagan (Bora-hansgrohe) came through to win the stage strongly after 182.5km into La Roche-sur-Yon.

And he took the race lead from Gaviria; a complete turnaround on his early disqualification from the Tour last year.

 

Top down: Sagan in full flight during his winning sprint. Long-time lone lead Sylvain Chavanel. Chris Froome having a better day yesterday.

 

Martin was in 51st place yesterday. He is now in 41st overall, on the same time as a large group of riders who have lost only sprint bonus seconds so far.

But today, Monday, the first real test presents itself for UAE Team Emirates man Martin.

If he is to have real aspirations of a podium finish in Paris after his fine 6th overall last year, he must limit his losses well today.

The TTT is a mainly flat 35km, starting and finishing in Cholet, but it is undulating in places.

It is a discipline Martin’s team has looked decidedly sketchy in this year.

At the same time; some of his rivals, especially Team Sky – who have several contenders for the top 10 overall to rival Martin – and Porte’s BMC, have perfected the TTT to a fine art.

Martin has spoken of treating the Tour as 21 one-day events and getting through the first nine days before “having fun” in the mountains.

But there won’t be too many jokes on the team bus this evening if the team bombs and loses several minutes.

Martin switched to UAE Team Emirates specifically for support in the Tour. And his whole 2018 season is geared around the race.

It means Monday’s race against the clock, no matter how relaxed of mind Martin is trying to stay, is a big test that he must at least score a respectable grade in.

 

 

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