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Dan Martin rues letting go on Alpe d’Huez, offers no excuses

Posted on: July 19th, 2018

Irish rider Dan Martin has said he simply wasn’t strong enough for the other top men on Alpe d’Huez. He tried to play the pacing game but the wind caught him out on his own.

 

Dan Martin analyses savage climb of Alpe d’Huez

 

Dan Martin has offered no excuses for his time loss at the Tour de France today, saying he simply wasn’t strong enough to stay with the other favourites.

Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) took a big step towards winning this race on Alpe d’Huez, if he is not afflicted by his usual poor showing in the third week of a Grand Tour.

But while the Welshman was having a day for the ages, Martin was struggling.

He had let go of the favourites group on yesterday’s stage 11 to ride at his own pace when the attacks began.

It was a strategy that paid off; the UAE Team Emirates rider getting back on and then attacking to gain time.

But he went deep into his reserves and paid for that effort today. He decided to let go on Alpe d’Huez in the hoping of pacing himself and getting back on.

But once on his own he was buffeted by the wind and he would lose time all the way to the line.

 

Top down: Geraint Thomas is king of Alpe d’Huez. The favourites’ group near the top. The famed hairpins.

 

“By the end of the stage we weren’t racing- it was just about getting to the top,” Dan Martin said in an honest appraisal at stage end.

“I had nothing left in my legs and just wanted to make the finish line in the best time possible.

“I felt really good in the first climb of the day, but then general fatigue set in. We’ve had three hard days of racing in the mountains and a week of tough racing before that so it’s not a surprise.

“Unfortunately I let go of the group to ride at my own tempo, which I think was a mistake as I didn’t realise how much wind there was.

“I got gapped and couldn’t get back. That said, I’m still happy with my race and there’s plenty of time to go until Paris.”

By the finish Martin’s deficit was significant; some 1:45 to winner Thomas and almost the same to the other big hitters who came in just seconds after him.

Martin was 12th on the stage, but almost one minute of the next general classification man. That was Nairo Quintana (Movistar); in 10th on the day some 53 seconds down on Thomas and 52 seconds ahead of Ireland’s Martin.

While there is still a very long way to go in this race, and Martin remains 10th overall, the gaps are bigger now.

He trails the yellow jersey by 5:11 and is over two minutes off 6th – his placing last year – and 3:22 off 3rd.

Martin had been tailed off the favourites group as Mikel Landa (Movistar) kicked off the attacking in the favourites group with just 8km to the summit finish.

After a real battle from that point on, with attack after attack, Thomas and four others reached the finish in a group.

The yellow jersey’s team mate Chris Froome was also there, as was Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale), Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) and Landa.

In the sprint to the line, demolished by Thomas, the group split a little. Briton Thomas was on fire for the second day running.

He not only claimed the stage but became the first yellow jersey to win atop Alpe d’Huez.

 

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