Dan Martin: Gaining time 'a bonus' as Irishman continues to suffer from injury at Tour de France

Martin now 1-32 off yellow after late attack

Simon Yates and Dan Martin sprint for the line on stage 13 of the Tour de France
(Image credit: Yuzuru Sunada)

Irishman Dan Martin (Quick-Step Floors) enjoyed taking "bonus" time on his general classification rivals in Foix after struggling with injury through the Pyrenees.

Martin entered the Tour’s third mountain range hoping merely to defend his position and not lose time as he was still feeling the effect of a high-speed crash last weekend when Richie Porte (BMC Racing) lost control and inadvertently took Martin down with him. Instead after two stages through France’s southern mountains he has gone from being 1-44 off the yellow jersey to 1-32.

>>> Fabio Aru fends off Chris Froome's attacks to retain Tour de France lead as Warren Barguil wins stage

The Quick Step Floors rider put in an aggressive performance in the Tour’s shortest road stage, a 101km jaunt from Saint-Girons to Foix. He led the group of favourites almost all the way up the steep Mur de Péguère before then attacking on the descent to the finish, taking white jersey wearer Simon Yates (Orica-Scott) with him.

Hunched over his bike in exhaustion at the finish he said: “I was just looking for opportunities on the steep climb. Because of my back I can’t really get out of the saddle so I just rode a hard tempo, then nobody can attack. It worked until just before the summit.

“I think it’s mission accomplished for me, gaining time is a huge bonus.”

He added: “I thought they might hesitate and let me go because I’m a bit further down on GC. A few seconds here and there is nice, especially considering my injuries.”

Watch: Tour de France stage 13 highlights

Martin, who had appeared strong in the Tour’s first week before his crash, now looks to be in good shape to challenge for further time in the Alps later next week.

“I’m getting better every day, I feel so much better than yesterday. I’m hoping it’ll continue like that,’ he said.

However, he said he still wasn’t thinking about a specific overall result. “From the start, I never set goals, I just race my bike do my best and then if I’m better than the others I’ll win,” he said.

>>> Five talking points from stage 13 of the Tour de France

The stage saw a volley of attacks on the final descent with first one then another of the GC favorites pinging of the front in an effort to weaken or break away from an isolated Fabio Aru (Astana) in the yellow jersey.

Martin and Yates were the only two that were successful in their bid for freedom. However, when asked if he felt there was weakness in the other GC men Martin said: “Today, just a really hard day on the bike you can’t tell. It’s so different to yesterday, it’s just all out all day. I think everybody is going to be happy that’s over.”

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Having trained as a journalist at Cardiff University I spent eight years working as a business journalist covering everything from social care, to construction to the legal profession and riding my bike at the weekends and evenings. When a friend told me Cycling Weekly was looking for a news editor, I didn't give myself much chance of landing the role, but I did and joined the publication in 2016. Since then I've covered Tours de France, World Championships, hour records, spring classics and races in the Middle East. On top of that, since becoming features editor in 2017 I've also been lucky enough to get myself sent to ride my bike for magazine pieces in Portugal and across the UK. They've all been fun but I have an enduring passion for covering the national track championships. It might not be the most glamorous but it's got a real community feeling to it.