‘There was a massive relief when I won. It was such an incredible moment.’
Irish stage-winner Dan Martin reflects on his victory in his Tour de France diary
Dan Martin celebrates after winning stage nine of the Tour de France to Bagneres-de-Bigorre yesterday. Photograph: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images.
Saturday, stage eight, Castres to Ax 3 Domaines (195 km)
Day one in the big mountains and it was a bit of a shock to the system.
The first stage with big climbs can affect many riders as you are not used to going uphill after a week on the flat. I felt really good on the first big climb, the Col de Pailheres, but then I had a really bad moment at the bottom of the final ascent, the Ax 3 Domaines.
After about a kilometre I found myself with my Garmin Sharp team-mate Andrew Talansky and we were both distanced.
I stayed with him to the top pacing him. I think I could have otherwise gone a little bit faster, but the deal beforehand was that if I had the legs to win the stage, I could do my own thing. Otherwise, the team wanted Andrew to try to get the white jersey as best young rider, and for me to help him do that.
Things didn’t work out in that regard as we both felt a bit empty on that last climb. My legs did come around before the top, though, and I was able to set a good tempo from there. I ended up 15th, two minutes and 34 seconds behind a hugely impressive Chris Froome.
We’ve got the second Pyrenean stage on Sunday and it is a hard stage to judge. It is going to be hot again.
Those climbs are a bit shorter and narrower, and the downhills are a bit more dangerous.
Doing five climbs in a row is a different type of race. It is not as explosive and it is last man standing at the end.
Sunday, stage 9, Saint Girons to Bagnères de Bigorre (168.5km)
I felt that it could be a break going to the finish, and that’s what happened; myself and the Danish rider Jakob Fuglsang went clear on the final climb and held off the group behind all the way to the line.
It’s a huge moment for my career to win my first Tour de France stage and I am really, really happy with the result.
The sensation is a bit like how I felt after winning Liège-Bastogne-Liège in April; a bit of a disbelief; but also a lot of happiness. I was very pleased to be able to share it with people who are like family to me. This team is special.
I told the guys on the team bus before the stage that I thought I could do something. I won the ninth stage in the 2011 Vuelta a España, and also came out on top in the 99th edition of Liège. It was the ninth stage of the Tour and I felt good about it. I feel that nine is my lucky number so there was no problem with motivation.