Dan Martin (Slipstream) is set to win the Route du Sud stage race after an impressive ride in the Pyrenees by the 21-year old first year professional from Birmingham.
Martin finished third on the stage behind Przemyslaw Niemec (Miche) and Julien Loubet (Ag2r) but rode a perfect tactical race to take the race lead from Noan Lelange.
While Niemec and other riders fought for the stage victory by forcing an early break on the Col du Tourmalet and the Col du Peyresourde, Martin rode with an experience far beyond his years.
He made sure he was part of the decisive counter-attack created by Christophe Moreau (Agritubel) that left Lelange behind and then attacked alone on the climb to the finish at Superbagneres to gain time on Moreau and other overall contenders.
Martin was third, 1-37 behind Niemec but gained 58 seconds on Moreau.
He now leads Moreau by a 1-42 according to provision results. The Route du Sud ends on Sunday with a 207km stage from Haute Garonne to Castres. The stage includes two third category climbs but Slipstream should be able to control the attacks and take the team?s first victory since announcing new sponsor Garmin during the week.
What a great baptism for the team and for Martin. Slipstream team manager Jonathan Vaughters again followed Martin from the team car and left this message on the team?s website via Twitter.
?Today was the first professional race Charlie (my son) has ever seen from the team car. Will have him in the team car every day in the Tour.?
Perhaps Vaughters should perhaps consider including Martin in the Slipstream team for the Tour de France.