Martin suffered in Thursday’s alpine time trial but still holds 10th place in the general classification he has raced for with no predetermined ambition, and with a team catering for marquee sprinter Marcel Kittel.
“I’m really happy with how I’m feeling. I don’t think I’ve ever felt this good this late into a Tour. It’s the first time I’ve done the Tour de France and haven’t been sick,” Martin said yesterday.
“Top 10 would be nice. Hopefully I’ve got the legs to have a go again. If I make the race harder as well maybe, I can jump up a few places. I’m definitely not looking behind me.”
The lean 29-year-old gave an indication to his climbing strength at the Critérium du Dauphiné last month where he jumped from fourth to third overall with a poised attack in the closing kilometres of the final stage.
Martin yesterday put his notable results down to a move to Andorra this season and a fresh start with new team Etixx-Quick Step, which he joined after eight years at incarnations of Garmin (now Cannondale-Drapac).
“I moved to Andorra and am climbing more, doing more altitude in my [training] rides,” he said. “My time trial has paid a little bit for that but I’m really enjoying climbing with the best and being able to attack as well.
"I’m one of the few that have actually wanted to attack [at the Tour]. I’m enjoying racing again and that’s what Etixx-Quick Step has brought me back to.”
Martin admitted his legs were fatigued after the second time trial of the race but was confident of being able to bounce back for Friday and Saturday’s decisive mountain stages, which could see a considerable shake-up of the overall behind yellow jersey Chris Froome (Team Sky), who has a healthy lead.
“If you have a bad day at this stage you’re going to lose minutes. It’s still pretty open, the race, you just have to recover,” he said.
“I don’t know if I had a bug last week because I didn’t feel like me, my legs weren’t the same. I feel back to the way I felt in the Pyrénées again.
“The boys have done an incredible job protecting me but it’s a case of I didn’t know what to expect coming into GC,” he added.
“I knew I was climbing well but I honestly haven’t done any work on my time trial at all and it’s a new team so I’m learning how this team works still.
"Next year we’ll definitely come back better equipped. It’s the first time I’ve done a GC in the Tour de France so that’s also a learning process. It’s really been a learning year and the results have been good.”
Martin’s previous career best at the Tour was 33rd in 2013.
Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Sophie Smith is an Australian journalist, television reporter and presenter, who has provided coverage for Cycling Weekly from races across the world. She has covered eight Tours de France, as well as reporting for national and international newspapers as well as other magazines.
Follow Sophie Smith on Twitter and Instagram:
The Schwalbe G-One RS gravel tire: a season-long review
We rode and tested the new Schwalbe G-One RS gravel tire all season long and loved it.
By Anne-Marije Rook • Published
Remco Evenepoel set for Grand Place celebrations after hero's welcome home
Message from Sir Dave Brailsford suggests Ineos Grenadiers are also interested in the world champion
By James Shrubsall • Published
Five things to look out for at Il Lombardia 2021
The final Monument of the season is here - don't miss these moments
By Stephen Puddicombe • Published
Dan Martin reflects on a career of consistency, instinctive racing and a panda: 'It was the human element that I found fun'
The Israel Start-Up Nation rider rode for five teams during his 14-year presence in the pro peloton
By Chris Marshall-Bell • Published