|UAE Team Emirates’ GC contender Dan Martin put in another sterling performance on stage 11 of the Tour to take a well-earned sixth place in the mountains, to take him into 10th position in the General Classification (GC). Today’s route meant another afternoon of climbing for the peloton as they travelled through the western Alps of France from Albertville to La Rosiere. The relatively short 108.5km stage saw fast and frenzied racing from start to finish with early breakaways forming and fracturing as the peloton continuously splintered, with riders battling it out for mountain points, sprint points and GC positioning.
Once again, Dan Martin rode another well-paced race, demonstrating his impressive strength as he fought his way up each of the climbs, gradually making up some of the time he lost during his unfortunate crash in stage eight. Then, with 4km to go the Irishman illuminated the race as he accelerated away from his group, dropping some of his rivals and closing the gap on the yellow jersey. His move took him over the line in sixth place just 27″ behind the stage winner Geraint Thomas (Team Sky).
Commenting on his Stage 11 finish Dan Martin said: “It was a really good opportunity. I was coming up fast from behind so I thought I’d give it a go. I knew that on that last 4km everyone would be looking at each other and not really riding and if I was able to get a gap I’d have a good chance of pulling some time back. Soall in all I’m really happy with it. I was pretty tired at the end, but considering how I’ve been feeling, I think today was a really good operation.
He continued: “After the crash I hadn’t really been thinking about the GC, I’ve just been doing my best every day and we’ll just have to wait and see the results at the end of the Tour. Any day a rider can have a bad day and lose time. If I hadn’t crashed I’d be in a really nice position today, maybe fourth!. Overall, I’m loving the mountains. The last two days have been great. This is the race you think about all year – these mountains and these crowds there’s just no feeling like it.”
Tomorrow’s Stage 12 will be the third and final hosted in the scenic Alps of France. Setting off from Bourg-Saint-Maurice Les Arcs, the peloton will ride along 175.5km of mountain road before arriving at the summit of Alpe d’Huez, 1850m above sea level. The infamous ‘Hors category’ climb, which has an average gradient of 8.1% and is nearly 14km long, will be preceded by two other HC climbs (Col de Madeleine and Col de la Croix de Fer) and a category 2 ascent in the form of Lacents de Montvernier, situated half way along the course. In total the peloton will face 6,000m of climbing in an epic stage that is set to permanently shape the GC standings of the Tour.