Tony Martin: The Tour de France is no kindergarten

Katusha-Alpecin rider comes up short after rolling the dice in the Massif Central

Tony Martin is no stranger to long range attacks and time trials and on Sunday in the Massif Central, it appeared Tony Martin was on his way to a sixth career Tour de France stage win.

Four-time time trial world champion Martin timed his attack to perfection from the large breakaway off the drop from the plateau with 64km to race and quickly pulled out a minute and a half. Martin's undoing though would come on the category 1 Col de Peyra Taillade which proved too much for the Katusha-Alpecin rider.

“The goal was for the whole team to be really aggressive and to be in the breakaway. I brought up the team, we were three guys and we had a small chance for success for today. I saw the guys around me were really strong climbers, especially Warren Barguil, so I knew my only chance was to go on a more flat or hilly part," said Martin who was reeled on on the Col de Peyra Taillade by the KOM leader Warren Barguil.

"I tried. I had a nice gap but at the end on the last long climb it was too steep for me and broke my rhythm. I suffered a lot. It was a nice try, I think. I had a small chance but at the end too many guys were pulling and some guys were too strong on the climb."

Once caught, Martin was absorbed by the breakaway which he rode into the Le Puy-en-Velay finish line 5:14 minutes down on Bauke Mollema who timed his time trial effort to take a debut Tour win.

"I think disappointed is the wrong word. At the end it was a hard day and I am happy of the fight that we made," added Martin. "For sure on these kind of days you wish you had more success but the Tour de France is no Kindergarten."

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Katusha-Alpecin general manager José Azevedo added to Martin's comments, explaining that while the team is still searching for its stage win, he was pleased by the showing of his riders.

"These are the days we don't win but we still end up with a good feeling. I am happy with the team. From the beginning today Tony was the first rider to attack. He made an early break with 10 riders, including Robert. Then later around 15 riders attacked with Maurits so on the top we had 3 riders in the first group, which is a very good situation," Azevedo explained of the stage tactics.

"We tried to save Maurits for the last climb, so Tony attacked, which was a good move from Tony, but in the end he was caught. You know, when the riders are giving their maximum and are aggressive with a good attitude, was cannot ask more. Our goal is to win a stage and we need to race like this. Everyone is giving his maximum."

Targeting the stage 1 time trial on home soil in Dusseldorf, Martin came up short in the rain but is hoping to fair better in the stage 20 test against the clock in his rainbow stripes as time trial world champion.

"I am happy that my condition is good and I'm looking forward to the time trial in Marseille. Also to tomorrow's rest day," he added.

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