Local knowledge pays dividends for Dan Martin in Tour de France queen stage

Andorra resident made hay while the rain fell, but questioned the tactics of some of his general classification rivals

Dan Martin on stage nine of the 2016 Tour de France (Watson)
(Image credit: Watson)

Living just 20km from the finish line of the Tour de France’s ninth stage, Dan Martin (Etixx-Quick Step) knows the roads up to Andorra Arcalis pretty well.

Martin moved to the small Andorran town of La Massana after several years in Girona while riding for Cannondale and found himself taking in his normal training roads on Sunday’s stage.

Numerous attacks on the final climb while the hail lashed the roads saw Martin move up to third in the overall standings, although finishing behind the likes of Chris Froome (Team Sky) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar).

“I maybe got a bit carried away there at the end, making a few moves, but I’m really enjoying racing and that’s what this team has reminded me of. I’m an aggressive rider and they’d prefer me to go down fighting and throwing punches than just get dropped,” he said.

“I’ve got this confidence now that if I’m in the red everyone else is in the red as well, so I know I’m climbing well.”

Watch: Highlights of the Tour de France stage nine

Three top-five finishes in nine stages and a series of strong performances in the Pyrénées has put Martin right in the thick of the general classification battle.

His best finish in three previous Tour de France starts is 33rd and the Irishman isn’t getting carried away with his fast start this year. But he explained that his attacks on the final climb weren't to try and distance Froome, but to make time on the likes of Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), who dropped back.

"I was looking at making time on the guys who had been dropped. I think Richie Porte had the same idea.

"Nairo and Chris were playing cat and mouse, they’d chase us down and they’d just look at each other again. There’s a bit of strange tactics going on. I don’t know when Nairo is going to make a move because he hasn’t made one in a few days now."

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Stuart Clarke is a News Associates trained journalist who has worked for the likes of the British Olympic Associate, British Rowing and the England and Wales Cricket Board, and of course Cycling Weekly. His work at Cycling Weekly has focused upon professional racing, following the World Tour races and its characters.