While all eyes were understandably on Chris Froome and Alberto Contador at Les Gets after their prologue duel at the Criterium du Dauphine, perhaps the biggest smile belonged to Dan Martin (Etixx-QuickStep), who put in what he described as a hugely pleasing, if not surprising ride.
The Irishman finished fourth on the stage, 21 seconds down on winner Alberto Contador, and with only Richie Porte and Froome ahead of him on the 3.9-kilometre uphill test.
"I'm obviously pretty happy and surprised," he said once he found his composure.
"I've been in Andorra and just riding my bike. I love riding in the mountains. I’ve not really done any specific training at all and that’s the first time I’ve hit that heart rate since Liege. It bodes well for the rest of the week.
"I spoke to Julian and his advice helped a lot. He went as hard as he could on the steep part, expecting it to get easier to the line but there was a headwind and if you didn’t stay on it for the final 600 meters then you could lose 15, 20 seconds. It’s very easy to get carried away with the people but I didn’t really ride to power, as I haven’t don’t any training for it. I just used the power meter to stop me from going too deep at the start."
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