Tour de France: Dan Martin needs to prove consistency in third week

Etixx-Quickstep rider scooped by Froome's attack

Twenty-four hours after Daniel Martin attacked over the final ascent, Chris Froome repeated the tactic only this time the Team Sky rider made it stick, leaving the Irishman to duke it out with the rest of the GC favourites for the minor placings on stage 8 of the Tour de France.

That Martin was able to finish second, pick up a few seconds and move into fourth overall, 17 seconds off Froome's lead, was a testament to the Etixx-Quickstep rider's form in this year's race and there were mixed emotions for him at the finish.

"Second again," he said with a laugh as he sat on the steps of the team bus after stage 8 and the finish in Luchon.

"Chris kind of did my plan but the way the group was I thought that it was silly to attack but he took advantage of the race situation, the environment of the Tour de France and fair play to him for being the daring one to actually do it."

Martin was a constant presence at the front of the race on the final ascent of the Col de Peyresourde, as Team Sky and Movistar traded several heavyweight blows. Her surfed the wheels of Froome and Nairo Quintana but like everyone else, was caught off guard when Froome accelerated over the top and then put in an impressive descent into Luchon.

"Everyone looked behind. When he attacked everyone looked behind instead of looking for the race. It's a very negative racing environment but he's the one who attacked - but then again it would have been a different sprint had it been for the victory."

On the descent Froome took every corner at full tilt and it was clear that his move was planned. It tore up the notion that Froome needed a mountaintop ascent in order to lay down a marker.

"Nairo didn't really want to make an effort towards chasing Chris but it's up to him as he and Chris are the favourites. It's all brinkmanship and it's early days," Martin said as he explained that the responsibility of chasing lay with Movistar, especially as they had two men in the group.

"Normally that descent is [into a] headwind but I don't think that there was too much wind today and that helped him. I think there were a fair few motorbikes hanging around as well."

Consistent form

Martin has been a constant presence at the front of the race when it's mattered most. He has come through the first week avoiding crashes and illnesses.

Martin's climbing ability has never been in doubt but the question mark has always been about consistency – putting a three-week block together and not suffering a hugely bad day or picking up sickness.

"I felt really good. It's my environment, and I love the Pyrenees. I always do well in one-week races but this is still where I'm good at. I still need to prove myself in the last week but we'll see."

The final day in the Pyrenees will see the peloton reach the first mountain summit of this year's race with the climb up to Andorra Arcalis.

"Tomorrow I'm on home roads and it passes near my house. I know the roads really well and it's nice to be going back to the place that I call home," he said.

"I know the climb really well. Ordinarily it's not the most decisive climb but the impact and the fatigue from the last eight days and the heat, it's definitely doing to take a toll on guys who have not recovered that well."

And with that Martin was gone, into a team car with a post-race meal and speedy transfer to the team hotel on the other side of the valley. His recovery had already begun.

More on this story:

Video Highlights

Related Articles

Back to top