Stickybottle

Dan Martin will “have another go”, hails Tour team protection

Posted on: July 11th, 2018

Dan Martin is talking up his chances at the Tour de France. He loitered with intent at the end of stage 5 but came up short.  But he wants to go again immediately.

 

Dan Martin to “have another go” at Tour de France

 

After finishing in 5th place on Wednesday’s stage 5 at the Tour de France, Dan Martin has vowed to “have another go”.

And he said he would do that on Thursday’s stage 6; hailing his team for how they are working to protect him.

He looked like he may be about to attack in the closing stages up the finishing ramp into Quimper on Wednesday. But a move never materialised.

And in the end he had to settle for 5th, with Peter Sagan (Bora-hansgrohe) winning the stage.

It was the first time Martin had shown himself at the front during the pointy end of a stage. And he said he was feeling great.

“I had a good feeling all day and in the last kilometre I thought I might have a chance,” he said.

“But the legs just weren’t there for a big sprint because I’ve been training for the mountains.

“That said, I was really happy to be in the front with those guys. And when we slowed down with 400m to go I considered jumping.

“But because of the corners, it would have been impossible to get ahead. The team did a great job of protecting me all day.

“It meant I’ve saved a lot of energy and will be fresher as the week goes on.

“Overall I am happy to get this result under my belt in the Tour and it’s a nice little opener for tomorrow.”

The opportunity he was looking forward to is the much harder finish to stage 6; some 181km from Brest to  Mûr de Bretagne Guerlédan.

At the end of the stage the steep 2km Mûr-de-Bretagne must be tackled twice. The finish is atop the climb on the second passage, with 16km between the two peaks.

 

Dan Martin Tour de France

Dan Martin Tour de France

Dan Martin Tour de France

Top down: The breakaway, the yellow jersey, Sagan in green powers in to win.

 

The end of Wednesday’s stage 5 proved very hard; Team Sky really ramping up the speed to keep Chris Froome safe.

And when they were done on the front as the uncategorised climb to the finish began, the battle for stage victory was intense.

Philippe Gilbert (QuickStep) took it up early. But he soon realised he had gone far too soon.

He managed to pull out a small gap but Julien Simon (Cofidis) and then yellow jersey Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) closed him down.

And when  he made contact, the group had thinned down – to just 38 men in the end. The main favourites were there and Gilbert eased up.

That taking the foot off the gas meant some of those who looked out of the hunt for victory moved much closer to the front again.

And one of those riders was Dan Martin. He moved up to about 10th position on the outside. But just as it looked like he was winding up for a surge to the line, the road turned right.

The faster men were on the inside line and Martin had the wider, longer, path around the corner.

As the finish line neared some of the fast men were still in contention; the final incline not severe enough to shake them.

Sagan hit out and took victory. He beat Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida)  into 2nd place;  as he had done on stage 2.

Gilbert was 3rd, having saved some of his powder when his first effort proved too soon.

Then came Alejandro Valverde (Movistar),  Julian Alaphilippe (QuickStep) and Martin (UAE Team Emirates).

With a much harder climbing at the end of stage 6, Martin will not be forced to beat the fast men and clearly fancies his chances.

Van Avermaet retains the race lead, with Dan Martin climbing the standings nine places to 24th. However, the gap between him and the other favourites ahead of him has not shortened.

He is 1:40 behind Van Avermaet, with Nairo Quintana (Movistar) the only real general classification threat behind him.

However, Martin was forced into a fight last year when he was wiped out on a stage 8 crash. He would finish 6th; the best Grand Tour result of his career.

He has repeatedly said of late his form is now very strong. And a win on Thursday would set him up brilliantly for the rest of the race.

 

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