Dan Martin’s Diary: Days 14 and 15 ‘My brain felt like it was being cooked’
I am just over four minutes back from second place. I think anything can happen still
Fans run alongside Nairo Quintana of Colombia and Chris Froome of Britain during stage 15 of the Tour de France, from Givors to Mont Ventoux. Photograph: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images
Saturday, Stage 14: St Pourçain sur Sioule to Lyon (191km):
Saturday was a day when a very big group fought it out between them for the stage win, but for those of us in the bunch it ended up being a pretty hard race all the same.
Things were all going to plan at the start, a three- or four-man break went away and the bunch tried to block the road to stop others trying to get across. However, the roads were too big and guys just kept attacking and attacking.
I think we averaged 48km per hour for the first two hours. It was nuts. And it wasn’t a flat road – there were definitely some decent climbs in there, with the route also very technical through villages and stuff. It required a lot of concentration and wasn’t as easy at might have seemed.
The break eventually got clear, but then the Lampre and Euskaltel teams started chasing for a long time. They eventually blew but not before causing the bunch to hurtle along at 50km per hour for an hour or so. The day was a lot more draining than expected.
There were two Garmin-Sharp riders in the move, David Millar and Andrew Talansky. David was hunting for the stage win but that didn’t work out; Andrew was more successful in his goal of moving back up the general classification, gaining over seven minutes and jumping to 12th overall, just behind me. He is also in contention again for best young rider, so it was a good day for him.
Sunday, July 14th, stage 15: Givors to Mont Ventoux (242.5 km):
Mont Ventoux, one of the most famous climbs of the Tour de France, was the day’s big climb but before then, we had a very long, hard day in the saddle on undulating roads.
Early on a break went, then the French rider Pierre Rolland attacked when the bunch was stopped for a nature break, trying to get up to the move and take more points for the King of the Mountains competition.
He was unable to get across, then his Europcar team decided to chase the breakaway down.
It made for a crazy day. I don’t think I have ever had such a fast, hard day’s racing. I think we had a 46km per hour average by the bottom of the Ventoux.
It being Bastille Day was probably part of that, as the French teams and riders were really fired up.
Initially, despite the racing being done at warp speed, I felt really good, my legs were great.