Martin stays ninth overall in Tour de France
Irish rider returns to scene of his first stage win on Thursday
Dan Martin: “It is going to be special to be on those roads again. I just love the Pyrenees.”
Dan Martin’s fear that Wednesday’s flat stage of the Tour de France could cause further splits in the peloton proved unfounded, with the race to Toulouse ending in a bunch gallop won by the Australian Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal).
Martin and the other general classification contenders all finished in the same time, with the Irishman crossing the line in 20th place. He remains ninth overall, two minutes and nine seconds behind the race leader Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep). Nicolas Roche worked for his Team Sunweb squad and then eased back inside the final kilometres to save energy for another breakaway attempt in the day ahead. He rolled in 89th but moves up one place to 32nd overall.
Thursday’s 12th stage could hand a lot of motivation to Martin: back in 2013, he won his first-ever Tour de France stage on many of the same roads. The race will return to the Col de Peyresourde and the climb of La Hourquette d’Ancizan, with the latter climb being followed by a 31.5 kilometre descent to the finish in Bagnères-de-Bigorre.
“It will obviously be amazing to see the same climb,” he told the Irish Times. “It is not the first time I will be to Bagnères-de-Bigorre since I won because I went there every year on recons (reconnaissance), but it is going to be great to go back and see those roads again.”
However much as he will try to move up the general classification, he plays down the chances of a repeat win. “I don’t know if I will be the one going for a stage this year, I think there is going to be a breakaway,” he explained. “And obviously the way I won the stage last time, I wasn’t there as a general classification rider, so I got a bit more space (leeway from the bunch). But it is going to be special to be on those roads again. I just love the Pyrenees.”