The Garmin Cannondale man came down in a spill on a section of newly-paved road with some 50 kilometres remaining on the 223.5km trek from Seraing to Cambrai and would never regain contact with the main group.
The Irishman bounced back onto his feet but his attempts to chase back were scuppered when he appeared to have some difficulty with his bike.
He received a spare bike from a conveniently-placed team-mate who was just ahead of him when the crash happened.
When they got going they’d lost around a minute on the peloton which was still fairly sizeable at that point.
However, the pace really ramped up thereafter as four sections of cobbles were yet to be negotiated and many teams stepped on the gas at the front, vying for supremacy.
This all worked against Martin and his team who battled gamely to get back on terms, but with such firepower up ahead it wasn’t to be and by the time he crossed the finish line he’d lost a staggering 5:37.
That result saw him drop from 20th down to 35th and he now trails the new race leader Tony Martin by 7:52.
The German powerhouse, riding for Etixx-QuickStep, claimed one of his best ever road stage victories on a brutal five-and-a-half-hour day.
He crossed the line three seconds ahead of John Degenkolb (Giant Alpecin) and Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) and the 40 or so who came to contest the finish.
Nicolas Roche was in that front group but just tailed off and lost 51 seconds coming to the finish, though that matters little as he’s not contesting GC and his mandate now will be to try and engineer a way for Team Sky to take back the yellow jersey.
They’ll perhaps not be too bothered about losing it yesterday as much stiffer tests lie in wait.
Alberto Contador (Tinkoff Saxo), Warren Barguil (Giant Alpecin), Bauke Mollema (Trek Factory Racing), Nairo Quintana (Movistar),Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) and Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing) were just some of the top names to come through with their GC hopes still intact.
Frenchman Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) was perhaps the biggest loser of the day after he lost almost three and a half minutes so his race for the yellow jersey is definitely over, along with Martin’s.
However, the upshot is they’ll now be given more leeway to go in breakaways and chase stage glory, something they’ve both done in the past.
For Sam Bennett (Bora Argon 18) it was a valuable learning experience and he finished 168th, almost 17 minutes down in a large group of some 40 riders.
The Carrick sprinter will perhaps get his best chance of contesting a bunch sprint today when the race travels 189 kilometres from Arras to Amiens and it’s pretty much pan-flat all day.