Having been out-sprinted by Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) on Thursday’s stage to Lans-en-Vercors, Martin was clearly determined to arrive at the line alone on the summit finish to Valmorel, launching a stinging attack with three kilometres to go that no one was able to follow.
The input of speed saw race leader Gianni Moscon (Team Sky) dropped as Thomas relied on the pace-setting of Tao Geoghegan Hart to keep Martin’s lead pegged at around 15 seconds.
Thomas closed in rapidly on Martin, but ran out of road as Martin was able to cross the line and celebrate his first victory in UAE Team Emirates colours with Thomas, just four seconds behind, moving into the race lead with just two stages remaining.
Meanwhile third place went to Yates, who moves up to sixth place in GC, while Damiano Caruso (BMC Racing) is now Thomas’ closest challenger for the overall title at 1-09.
How it happened
Stage five of the Critérium du Dauphiné was the most straightforward of the four back-to-back summit finishes of the end of the race with a general flat run from Grenoble through the valleys to the finishing climb to Valmorel.
However the opening of the stage saw two small climbs which allowed Edward Ravasi (UAE Team Emirates), Alexis Gougeard (Ag2r La Mondiale), Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), Nicolas Edet (Cofidis), Laurens De Plus (Quick-Step Floors), Bruno Armirail (Groupama-FDJ), Matteo Fabbro (Trek-Segafredo) and Carlos Verona (Mitchelton-Scott) to slip clear and form the break of the day.
With the stage only being 130.5km in length, those eight riders were never allowed much of a gap, with their lead hovering at around two minutes as Team Sky controlled the bunch before Bora-Hansgrohe, working for Emanuel Buchmann, decided to take up the pace-setting to bring the gap down to a minute with 19km to go.
However as they really closed in on the climb, Team Sky were back on the front and that additional pace saw the break all but caught as the road ramped upwards towards the ski resort of Valmorel with 12km to go.
Despite the peloton being within sight, Edet, De Plus, and Ravasi decided to persevere and were actually able to extend their lead back out towards half a minute as Classics specialist Dylan Van Baarle led the Team Sky train behind.
That trio worked well together until Mitchelton-Scott moved to the front of the peloton to up the pace and reduce the gap, prompting Edet to attack from the break. De Plus was able to bridge across with 6.5km to go, but by that point the gap was down to just 10 seconds and the catch was soon made.
One-by-one the Mitchelton-Scott riders peeled off the front in an attempt to set up Adam Yates, but the first attack actually came from Marc Soler (Movistar) with 3.5km remaining.
However the response soon came from Yates, who attacked with Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) following immediately while Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale) and Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) among those taking a little longer to respond.
But just as he had done on stage four, Martin launched a powerful attack, this time able to get away with no other riders for company with three kilometres to go.
Those accelerations saw the yellow jersey of Gianni Moscon (Team Sky) dropped, while his team-mate Tao Geoghegan Hart moved to the front of the bunch with Thomas in his wheel to attempt to chase down Martin.
Geoghegan Hart’s effort meant Martin was locked at 15 seconds, before he pulled off with one kilometre to go as Thomas attacked with Bardet the only man able to follow.
However Bardet wasn’t able to stay there for long as Thomas pushed on in pursuit of Martin with the yellow jersey within his grasp.
Thomas had Martin in his sights and was closing fast, but was unable to make the junction in time with Martin crossing the line with a few seconds to spare even after a slightly premature celebration with 150m to go.
That result meant that Thomas moved into the race lead by 1-09 over Damiano Caruso (BMC Racing) with Moscon hanging on to third on the same time as Caruso.
Critérium du Dauphiné 2018, stage five: Grenoble to Valmorel, 130.5km
1 Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates, in 3-21-19
2 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky, at 4 secs
3 Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott, at 15 secs
4 Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 16 secs
5 Daniel Navarro Garcia (Esp) Cofidis, at same time
6 Romain Bardet (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale, at same time
7 Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing, at 24 secs
8 Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin, at same time
9 Guillaume Martin (Fra) Wanty-Groupe Gobert, at 26 secs
10 Antwan Tolhoek (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo, at same time
General classification after stage five
1 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky, in 17-16-53
2 Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing, at 1-09
3 Gianni Moscon (Ita) Team Sky, at same time
4 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors, at 1-10
5 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky, at 1-15
6 Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott, at 1-18
7 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale, at 1-53
8 Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors, at 2-03
9 Marc Soler (Esp) Movistar, at 2-10
10 Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 2-23