Dan Martin Diary – Stage 11: Still paying for Sunday’s effort as time trial proves tough
The heavyweights take full advantage when the land is flat
Omega Pharma-Quick Step team rider Tony Martin of Germany cycles past the Mont Saint-Michel during the 32 km individual time trial 11th stage of the Tour de France yesterday. Photograph: Reuters
Well, as I had thought beforehand, the time trial turned out to be a tough day. The result is not great, finishing 62nd and over three minutes behind the winner Tony Martin, but I was pretty tired. I didn’t feel bad, I just didn’t have the power to push the gear. Maybe I am still paying the efforts I put in on Sunday when I won the stage.
I did my best possible effort and have to be content with that. The bigger guys always have an advantage on a course such as the one the time trial was held on; I am 63 kilos, so I am a lot lighter than Tony and many of those who were in front of me. It’s a pure physics lesson; when you go uphill, having lower body weight is an advantage. But on the flat, every rider has to put out nearly the same amount of power to go at a certain speed speed.
Yesterday’s time trial was actually quite fun early on, if you can call it that. In the first 15 kilometres, there were some big rollers and you could carry really high speed into quite steep climbs. That was quite a cool part of the course for me. However perhaps I started out a little bit too hard and then I paid for that on the false flat section after the first checkpoint.
The last 15 kilometres were definitely a lot flatter and there was a lot of wind. It was mainly tail-crosswind until the very end, when there were headwinds. It wasn’t great for my characteristics. Obviously the faster speeds benefit the heavier guys like Tony Martin.
I did pretty much the same time as Nairo Quintana of the Movistar team, the Colombian who was the best young rider in the race until the time trial, and Joaquim Rodriguez, last year’s world number one. They are similar-type guys to me, in terms of characteristics. I would have liked to have been a little bit closer to Alberto Contador and Alejandro Valverde, but the legs just weren’t there. Both of those were a little over a minute faster.
The only general classification contender to make it into the top 10 was the race leader Chris Froome. He was very fast early on, going quicker than the intermediate times set by Tony Martin, but slipped back towards the end to finish twelve seconds behind in second place.
He was much faster than the other guys racing for the yellow jersey, though, and is now three minutes 25 seconds ahead of his closest rival Valverde. Some people were surprised at the performance but in in the 2011 Vuelta a España, he did a fantastic time trial there to finish second behind Tony Martin. Chris has got a huge engine and he has been working a lot on his time trial position. He has a really fast bike too.