The Garmin-SHARP rider put in one of the performances of his life to forge his way into the day’s 25-man breakaway after 40 kilometres and managed to stay out front for the remainder of the 217km trek, as one after another of his fellow escapees tailed off — one of whom was his cousin Nicolas Roche (SaxoBank-Tinkoff).
Martin was, of course, helped by the news that overnight leader Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), along with teammate Eros Capecchi, crashed midway through the stage and subsequently abandoned, which meant a new man would be in yellow by day’s end.
Martin crossed the line 36 seconds ahead of second and third placed Joaquim Rodriguez and Nairo Quintana. But the biggest losers of the day were the seemingly irrepressible Team Sky — led by reigning Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins who led in a small group for sixth at 1:02. He now trails Martin by 36 seconds overall.
Meanwhile, recently-crowned world track champion Martyn Irvine is facing three months out after breaking the top of his femur in a high speed crash in Taiwan yesterday.
The Newtownards man, riding for the UnitedHealthCare team, came down heavily, colliding with a bollard. He was taken to hospital and subsequently underwent surgery.