Dan Martin inching his way up the standings at Tour de France
Irish cyclist puts in another strong performance to rise to 10th overall
Lotto Soudal rider Jelle Vanendert of Belgium in action during stage 11 of the Tour de France. Photograph: Benoit Tessier/Reuters
He was initially distanced when the general classification riders started attacking on the day’s final climb, but steadily rode back into contention and then attacked hard.
Stage winner Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) had already made his move by that point, and several others were already clear from an earlier attack. Martin’s surge was too much, however, for many of the overall contenders, although defending Tour champion Chris Froome was able to go with him.
“I saw that they had stopped and I was coming up behind, so I thought why not give it a go,” Martin explained. “I knew on that last 4km that everyone would be looking at each other and if you could get a gap it could stay.”
He did most of the work in chasing those further ahead, but Froome did do some riding before jumping clear inside the final 2km. “I was really grateful to Chris for riding with me, as I knew with G [Froome’s team-mate Geraint Thomas] up front he didn’t need to. But, damn, he was strong and he was killing me . . . I was pretty tired at the end there, but considering how I felt, it was a pretty good operation.
“After the [stage seven] crash I wasn’t really thinking about the GC [general classification], just trying to do my best every day. I just love racing in the mountains. The last few days haven’t felt like racing as I have enjoyed it so much. It’s a shame that I enjoy something that hurts like hell. Racing on this mountain with this crowd – there is no feeling like it,” Martin said.
Martin crossed the line 27 seconds behind Thomas and seven seconds behind 2017 Giro d’Italia winner Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) and Froome. He is three minutes 16 seconds behind Thomas in the overall standings, and looking to make further progress towards the final podium between now and Paris.
“This Tour is going to be about who has the least-bad bad days,” he said. “If I haven’t had the crash I would be a lot better off by now.”
Stage 11 positions (Albertville to La Rosiere, 108km)
1 Geraint Thomas (Gbr) Team Sky 3hrs 29mins 36secs, 2 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb at 20s, 3 Chris Froome (Gbr) Team Sky at same time, 4 Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing Team at 22s, 5 Mikel Nieve (Spa) Mitchelton-Scott at same time, 6 Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates at 27s, 7 Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits at 57s, 8 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale at 59s, 9 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida, 10 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team both at same time
Leading general classification after stage 11
1 Geraint Thomas (Gbr) Team Sky 44hrs 06mins 16secs, 2 Chris Froome (Gbr) Team Sky at 1m 25s, 3 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunwebat1m44s, 4 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Meridaat2m14s, 5 Primoz Roglic (Slo) LottoNL-Jumboat2m23s, 6 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumboat2m40s, 7 Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar Teamat2m56s, 8 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondialeat2m58s, 9 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Teamat3m16s, 10 Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates at same time