Dan Martin (Etixx-QuickStep) may have missed out on the win during stage 5 of the Criterium du Dauphine but he put in a worthy ride to finish fourth and solidify his fourth place in the overall standings.
On the climb to Vaujany, Martin was a constant feature in the front of the elite group of climbers and GC contenders. He threw in his own attack on the climb but when stage winner Chris Froome (Team Sky) attacked, the Irishman was forced to combine his efforts with Alberto Contador as the pair looked to limit their losses to the Sky rider and Richie Porte (BMC Racing).
At the summit Martin finished fourth at 19 seconds, with Adam Yates edging him for third. The result leaves Martin fourth, 37 seconds behind Froome.
"After the TT I knew I was in good condition on the climb so, it's nice to be able to race against those guys. When Chris went, it was like – whoa! His one-minute power is crazy, normally that's my kind of thing but I couldn’t follow it."
Martin has spent the last few weeks of training improving his stamina and endurance, with long rides at altitude. Today's climb ensured that the Irishman had to use his natural ability to raise the pace to good effect.
"I haven't been doing any explosiveness at all. Maybe I got a little over excited when I attacked but I'm still trying to gauge whether the other riders might just let me go," he said.
"I don't know whether Chris, Alberto and Richie were just watching each other, so I thought I gave it a good crack. The team put me in a great position at the bottom of the climb. It was just such an explosive effort the whole climb it was a long, hard, flat out the whole way up."
Martin heads into the queen stage as a genuine contender for the race. That was clear the moment Contador chased him down. The Irishman will look for the opportunity to win a stage but a high place on the overall, possibly on the podium, is also a realistic aim.
"I'm not going to give up a GC, but I'm also too close on GC for the others to let me go for a stage, so we'll just get through it and hopefully the weather's going to be good tomorrow and we'll see how it goes."
If he is to win a stage, Martin may have to go head-to-head with Froome, who was simply unstoppable at Vaujany.
"He went pretty hard. But I settled into a rhythm and expected them to stop and look at each other, but Chris and Richie both wanted to make time on Alberto. So it was an unusual climb, a different climb for a race like this. It was really explosive. But, I'm happy."