Dan Martin second on stage four of Critérium du Dauphiné

Martin’s prime objective in riding race is to hone his form prior to the Tour de France

France’s Julian Alaphilippe (right) sprints ahead of Ireland’s Daniel Martin (centre) and Britain’s Geraint Thomas  to win the fourth stage of the  Criterium du Dauphine in France. Photograph: Getty Images

France’s Julian Alaphilippe (right) sprints ahead of Ireland’s Daniel Martin (centre) and Britain’s Geraint Thomas to win the fourth stage of the Criterium du Dauphine in France. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Dan Martin registered his best result of the year thus far when he took a superb second on stage four of the Critérium du Dauphiné in France. The UAE Team Emirates rider led out the uphill sprint from 500m to go, with only three riders – Geraint Thomas (Team Sky), Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) and Martin’s former teammate Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) – remaining on his wheel.

Alaphilippe made his move with 100m to go, passing Martin. The Irishman was able to hold off Thomas and Bardet for second, with the next riders finishing five seconds back.

“I just don’t have that sprint yet, but it’s coming,” said Martin. “I’m happy, it was a good day, and the team did a good job.”

Martin’s team didn’t fare well in Wednesday’s team time trial, losing two minutes and 28 seconds to Team Sky. As a result of this Martin has a very tough fight to get back into overall contention, although he made a little upwards progress when he moved up to 20th overall. He is now two minutes and 40 seconds off the yellow jersey.

The new race leader is Sky’s Gianni Moscon, who takes over from the prologue winner, his teammate Michal Kwiatkowski. The latter lost contact with the leaders close to the line and finished 17 seconds back in 19th.

Prime objective

Martin’s prime objective in riding the race is to hone his form prior to the Tour de France. “It’s great in the new team environment. I had good legs in training all year, but it hasn’t come together in races for some reason. It’s good to get that, that’s a relief and it’s a good sign for the next days.

“I feel good, I came into the race without expectations. Just race with a smile on my face, I knew I was in good condition. I’m still waiting for the Tour de France, I’m not in top condition, but this is a good sign for July.”

Martin finished sixth overall in last year’s Tour despite crashing and fracturing a bone in his back. He has said in the past that he believes that with top condition he can contend for the podium or better. Although his season thus far has been more modest than he is accustomed to, he will hope to hit peak form for July.

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