Dan Martin stayed inside the top 10 on general classification at the Tour de France yesterday after a gutsy time-trial performance saw him finish 33rd of the 187 riders.
He is now 5:03 off race leader Chris Froome (Team Sky) who extended his lead at the top of the standings yesterday but is just over two minutes behind the man in third, Adam Yates (Orica-BikeExchange).
Ducthman Tom Dumoulin (Team Giant Alpecin) came into the 13th stage of the race well down the standings but his prowess against the clock came to the fore as he blitzed the 37.5km course in 50:15, a whopping 1:03 faster than runner-up Froome.
Nelson Oliveira of Movistar was the surprise packet of the day as he rounded out the podium in third while Bauke Mollema (Trek Segafredo) jumped up to second overall with a fine display to take sixth on the day.
He is now Froome’s closest challenger at 1:47 while the man he deposed in second, Yates (Orica-BikeExchange), dropped to third.
Froome said the day was overshadowed by sadness and was put into perspective given the terrorist atrocity in Nice overnight.
Tour chiefs held a crisis meeting in the early hours of the morning to decide whether or not the race would go ahead but general director of the Tour, Christain Prudhomme, insisted the show must go on – and Froome echoed his sentiments.
“I think it was good that we stand together,” said the Team Sky man.
“Things have been put into perspective here for us.
“Of course, I’m happy with how the time trial went, but really the atmosphere here is sad and everyone’s hearts are with those affected down in Nice. It’s a special place for me also, close to my home base.”
Similarly, stage winner Dumoulin was downcast given what had unfolded.
“I woke up with the terrible news from Nice, and it was a big question if the team would start. I think it was a good decision [to start], in general; these terrorists cannot decide our lives.
“In the end, it was a just decision to race because we can’t let terrorists rule our lives in our society. It’s terrible what happened and overshadows the day.
“You’re speaking to a man with two sides to his face; of course I’m happy with the win, but at the same time my thoughts are with everyone involved in the attacks in Nice.” Aside from the aforementioned Martin, for Sam Bennett it was never likely to be a stage he’d contend for so he rode a conservative race and finished 160th, some eight minutes behind the winner. He is still last man on general classification some three hours down.
Today’s stage is a somewhat easier day as the riders take on a mainly flat 208-kilometre stage from Montelimar to Villars des Dombes, just north of Lyon.
Meanwhile, Bjorn Larson (Holowesko Citadel pb Hincapie team) won yesterday’s fourth stage of the Scott Junior Tour of Ireland after jumping clear of a five-man breakaway towards the end of the 110-kilometre stage to Ballyvaughan.
Third over the line was Irishman Jake Gray of the national team while his teammate Robert O’Leary is still third overall.
Charlie Meredith (Giant Halo) is still in yellow heading into the penultimate stage today, though tied on time with his teammate Matthew Cox.
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