Dan Martin and Nicolas Roche finding form ahead of Tour de France
Irish duo move up standings after mountainous stage of Critérium du Dauphiné
Dan Martin finished 11th in Thursday’s stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné. Photograph: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images.
They rode well on the mountain stage to Pra-Loup, with Cannondale-Garmin rider Martin netting 11th, one minute and three seconds behind the day’s winner Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale). Roche was 13th at one minute 20 seconds, having ridden for his team-mate and Sky leader Chris Froome.
Martin is helping his own team-mate Andrew Talansky in the race, with the American trying to win overall for the second year in a row.
Yesterday’s 161-kilometre stage saw American rider Tejay Van Garderen (BMC Racing Team) take over as race leader. Martin’s solid showing elevates him from 24th to eighth overall, one minute 16 seconds off the yellow jersey.
Roche also moves up, going from 22nd to 10th overall.
The third Irishman in the race, Philip Deignan (Sky), also rode for Froome. He finished back in 85th place. He is a possible starter in the Tour, although his team has yet to confirm that he will make his debut in the event.
Deignan performed strongly in backing Froome in last year’s Vuelta a España, and is normally one of the team’s strongest climbers.
Like Martin and Roche, Sam Bennett has also been confirmed for the Tour de France.
His Bora-Argon 18 team elected not to send him to the mountainous Dauphiné, instead plotting out a programme of flatter races. He has notched up three wins thus far this year and was second in the Garmin Velothon in Berlin on May 31st.
Next up for the second-year pro is the 1.1-ranked Rund um Koln in Germany on Sunday, a race he won last year.
His team is hoping he can notch up a strong result against some of the riders he will be up against in the Tour, including eight-time stage winner Marcel Kittel (Giant-Alpecin).
He will then compete in the five day, 2.1-ranked ZLM Toer in the Netherlands from June 17th to 21st.