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Dan Martin - "The Tour De France Is Far From Over For Me"

Dan Martin - "The Tour De France Is Far From Over For Me"
Paul McNulty
By Paul McNulty
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There's no doubt that today's stage was a bit of a sickener for Ireland's Dan Martin. He came into the stage in third place - just 31 seconds behind leader Chris Froome but after the madness of the day subsided - he had slipped to ninth place and lost a further minute and a half on the Team Sky rider.

The day was incident-packed, featuring the bizarre sight of Froome running up Mont Ventoux after first running into a motorbike and then having a following motorbike hit his bike and wrecking it. Froome lost a total of one minute and 40 seconds due to the crash but officials later credited him with the time so he retains the yellow jersey
and has a 47 second advantage over fellow Brit Adam Yates with a further seven seconds back to Nairo Quintana.


Martin managed to stay with Froome and the other leading contenders for the yellow jersey most of today's gruelling stage but lost contact towards the end and though he battled bravely - he couldn't help but lose time on his main rivals.


Tomorrow's stage 13 is a rolling time trial - and it's a bit of a step into the unknown for Martin - who
actually hasn't raced a long time trial since 2014. Froome would be expected to widen his lead - but Martin knows he has to attack - and he has nothing to lose tomorrow.

Martin was seen by some as a one-day specialist or someone who'd shine over a few days. But he's one of the best climbers in the world - and thanks to a gluten-free diet and a recent move to Andorra - his overall strength has definitely improved. His gluten-free diet, like the one tennis star Novak Djokavic is on - has helped Martin lose 3kg - which is huge in the world of cycling's marginal gains.

He'd never been this high in the rankings this far into a Grand Tour and speaking tonight, Martin says that he will continue to fight.


I felt good all day and the guys did a great job. Everybody was fully committed. I was good, but not good enough, and I must say I am gutted for losing some time.  I lost a wheel when Sky decided to up the tempo, but I continued to ride hard, even if this meant going into the red.
The Tour de France is not over, I'm not too far behind and I vow to fight. I'm the kind of rider who likes more a mountainous day than a big explosion effort, and fortunately such stages are yet to come."

Martin is not the only Irish cyclist in the race however - Sam Bennett is also still battling on but he's had rotten luck. An early crash meant he has been hanging on  for most of the tour to date but it only emerged on Monday that he suffered a broken finger so he's shown great grit to stick tough. He'll be stronger in the time-trials than many expect and could even sneak into a place on one of the flatter stages next week.

Time trials are usually not the most exciting of visual spectacles as you are watching a guy race against the clock - but it'll be a crucial one for Martin. He's just about a minute behind Nairo Quintana in third place - so while Froome will, in all likelihood, gain some time - how Martin does against Quintana will determine whether his challenge for an overall podium finish has come to an end.



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