Dan Martin's time trial on stage 13 of the Tour de France certainly didn't set the world alight but the Etixx-QuickStep rider was left fairly satisfied with his effort. Having raced his time trial bike just once, and not training on it at all, Martin was able to keep his top 10 position in the general classification despite having lost three minutes to the yellow jersey.
The Tour de France has been battered by winds for the past few days and Friday was no different. Martin chose safety over speed and opted to ride with deep sectioned rims rather than disc or tri-spoke wheels.
"I was getting blown around all over the place and we decided to," Martin said as he rode back to the campervan the team had hired in place of their bus, which was at the start line. "I was never going to win the time trial so safety first and zero risks. I didn't take the disc wheel because we wanted to avoid crashing basically. I don’t really know how I did, I think I was only a minute down on Richie [Porte].
"To be honest I've not ridden my time trial bike this year, it has all been about climbing and the TT was an afterthought so I'm pretty happy with that."
It was evident that Martin had been giving it everything out on the course as he had to pause midway up the short climb to the bus for a breather. While he sat on the top tube with his elbows resting on his handlebars, Martin's muscles twitched as they recovered from the effort. Martin's DS Brian Holm was in the car behind him and as they edged their way past, the Dane opened the window to offer his congratulations to his rider. Martin retorted that he'd not ridden his time trial bike in a long time and that he'd suffered some cramp in his glutes towards the finish.
Nevertheless, Holm was happy with the way things had panned out. "He was flying out there. On the first climb, he was going really good. I mean, I asked Dan how many time trials he had done last year and he hadn't really done any 'a bloc'," Holm told Cyclingnews. "He doesn’t have the reputation of being Chris Boardman in the time trial so it was a very good surprise to see him going like that. We support those guys who are specialist GC riders and I think he can be very happy with his performance."
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Martin had struggled on the previous day's stage, getting dropped on Mont Ventoux and slipping from third to ninth overall. Holm accepts that there will be tough days ahead but is confident that Martin can hold onto his top 10 position.
"That's a part of the Tour. He was hanging on and he didn't lose too much time for sure. He is going to struggle again in the Alps and so are the others, that's a part of the Tour," Holm said of Martin's ride on Ventoux. "It's more or less like expected. It's not like we thought that he would attack Chris Froome. We're going to hang on and do as possible and if he can make it to top 10 in Paris then we will be more than happy.
"The winner of the Tour de France is a guy who doesn't have bad days so most of the riders are going to lose a bit here or there and we'll see what happens with the time trials. We're quite optimistic. He's not really tired, he doesn't complain and we say that today in the time trial. He's motivated and he's still ambitious."
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