Tour de France: Dan Martin makes gains on tough finish

Irish rider remains sixth as Chris Froome regains yellow jersey

Australia’s Michael Matthews celebrates as he crosses the finish line at the end of the 14th stage of the  Tour de France  between Blagnac and Rodez. Photograph: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images

Australia’s Michael Matthews celebrates as he crosses the finish line at the end of the 14th stage of the Tour de France between Blagnac and Rodez. Photograph: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images

 

Dan Martin showed once again his strength in the Tour de France, clocking up a top 10 finish on the stage into Rodez on Saturday. The race ended with a steep climb inside the final kilometre, and while it was more suited to the sprinters in the peloton such as stage winner Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) and the runner-up, Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team), Martin was also prominent.

He finished in the same time as third-placed rider Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data), who was one second behind Matthews and Van Avermaet. Martin rolled across the line in eighth, one place behind defending Tour champion Chris Froome (Team Sky).

Importantly, he gained time on three of the riders in front of him in the general classification. Third-placed rider Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale) lost four seconds to him, Mikel Landa (Team Sky) conceded 14 and the previous race leader, Fabio Aru (Astana) dropped 24 seconds.

Only Froome and the fourth-placed rider Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac) finished in the same time as Martin.

Because of Aru’s time loss, he slipped to second in the overall standings. With Froome retaking the lead, Martin is now closer to the yellow jersey; he ends the stage sixth overall, one minute 26 seconds back, versus his one minute 32 second deficit to Aru on Friday evening.

Martin is now one minute and eight seconds off Aru’s second place, and one minute and three seconds behind third-placed Bardet. He is just nine seconds off the fifth place held by Landa, and will look for further opportunities on Sunday.

His first cousin Nicolas Roche (BMC Racing Team) was 112th and goes from 37th to 39th overall.

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