UAE Team Emirates' general classification contender Daniel Martin safely finished in the front group at the Tour de France on stage 10 on Monday, which was a tough day at the office for a number of his rivals as echelons formed by the strong winds split the race apart.
Trek-Segafredo's Richie Porte, Astana's Jakob Fuglsang and 2017 Tour runner-up Rigoberto Urán all lost 1:40 – and serious dents to their GC chances – to Martin's group, which also included Team Ineos duo Egan Bernal and Geraint Thomas, Nairo Quintana of Movistar and AG2R La Mondiale's Romain Bardet.
"Even from the first kilometre, it was stressful," Martin said on his team's website of the 217km stage from Saint-Flour to Albi. "Everybody knew with the wind was dangerous, and when you have over 200km when it can happen at any moment, you always need a bit of good luck to be in the front.
"I was always in the top 20, and it was a fight to be there," he continued. "When Deceuninck and Ineos made the move, Sven [Erik Bystrøm] came up to me, and worked in the wind to bring me to the front.
"Jasper [Philipsen] was there too, which was perfect for the sprint," Martin said, with the young Belgian sprinter finishing in sixth place on the stage.
"Anything can happen on any day of the Tour, and today for us was a good day. We were really focused to make the splits, so it's a really nice way to go into the rest day."
Talking later on Eurosport UK programme The Breakaway, Martin added that the accumulated fatigue of 10 days of racing will have taken its toll on everyone, and that you may only see the effects of that on the main contenders when the Tour hits the Pyrenees on Thursday's stage 12.
"We've got one more nervous day to Toulouse [on stage 11 on Wednesday] after the rest day, and so hopefully we'll get through that stage, and then the real race starts."
Martin now sits ninth overall, 2:09 down on race leader Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) and 57 seconds behind defending Tour champion Geraint Thomas.
"It's important not to get too excited," he said. "The same thing that happened today could happen to me on that day after the rest day. It's another day that could potentially have crosswinds, so we'll try to survive that day, and then we can look at the mountains."
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