Dan Martin forced to dig deep in battle of Dauphiné queen stage

Posted on: June 15th, 2019

Dan Martin looks shattered as he finishes Critérium du Dauphiné stage 7 with outgoing yellow jersey Adam Yates just behind.

Dan Martin dug very deep on the queen stage of Critérium du Dauphiné today, proving one of the very few who could respond when the general classification men attacked up the final climb.

At the end of the 133.5km stage 7 from Saint-Genix-les-Villages to Pipay Wout Poels (Team Ineos) took victory.

However, while Poels was by far the strongest from the select group in the final kilometre, Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) took the race lead.

Fuglsang attacked with Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-hansgrohe) up the final 19km climb to the summit finish.

Behind the two leaders there were several attacks out of the select group that emerged as the climb up the mountain progressed.

Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale) was one of the aggressors along with Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) and Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ).

However, those attacks failed to conclusively split the group and Martin went on the front to try and close the gap to the two leaders.

After him yellow jersey Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) took it up as the leaders hit the 1km to go marker just seconds up the road.

Astana got key men in the breakaway; above, Magnus Cort pulls for Alexey Lutsenko
Poels takes the stage victory; a big win after Chris Froome crashed so hard
Adam Yates may have lost yellow but he is still very much in the hunt for the overall win

However, once the chasers had dipped inside the last kilometre, Poels attacked on the drops.

And once he attacked and moved away from the group it was clear he was gone for good.

Yates dragged the group after the Dutchman; and Team Ineos leader in the absence of Chris Froome.

Bardet, Pinot, Martin and Tejay van Garderen (EF Education First) all struggled to stay on the wheel of Yates.

Up ahead, Poels shot across the gap to the two leaders and passed them to win, by a single second from Fuglsang and Buchmann.

Another nine seconds back Pinot sprinted home for 4th just ahead of Martin in 5th and Yates in 6th place.

Bardet was next, in 7th place, another three seconds back and then came van Garderen in 8th some three seconds down on Bardet.

The result meant Fuglsang takes the yellow jersey and now leads the race by eight seconds from Yates with van Garderen in 3rd some 20 seconds off yellow.

Ireland’s stage 3 winner Sam Bennett (Bora-hansgrohe) finished in 122nd place today.

He was 32:09 down on a day when nine riders abandoned and five others did not start.

Dan Martin has moved up two places to 10th at 1:21. However, Poels looked by far the strongest in the final kilometre today after four hours, much of it in the rain.

The Dutch rider is just 28 seconds off the race leader in 5th overall with one stage to come and could be Fuglsang’s biggest threat.

It was a masterful rider by Astana today as they also got key riders into an early 29-rider breakaway that gained over four minutes at one point.

Of that group, Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) and Michael Woods (EF Education First) were the dangermen.

They were caught with about 5km to go and from that point the racing from the select group got underway.

Sunday’s stage 8 is the last day of the race and while the 113.5km from Cluses to Champéry is not as hard as today and the finish climb not as big, Poels may put Astana under pressure.