Following on from his stage 6 Tour de France, Dan Martin found himself in the wars on stage 8 on Saturday, a day of more flat roads, this time in Normandy, 181km from Dreux to Amiens.
The stage looked to be a straight forward affair for Martin’s UAE Team Emirates until misfortune struck with 16kms to go when the Irishman was involved in a crash that put him two minutes behind the lead riders.
The team’s domestiques put in a heroic effort to help Martin close the gap and catch the front group, but with so little distance left of the race – and a number of teams pushing hard to catch the breakaway – it was always going to be a big ask.
After giving it everything for the remaining part of the course, Martin made up significant ground on his GC competitors, but still crossed the line 1:16” down.
Martin’s team mate, sprinter Alexander Kristoff, held his position at the front of the pack and contested a bunch sprint finish to cross the line in an impressive 6th position despite not having a lead out man to assist him. He was soon officially awarded 4th place when Greipel and Gaviria, who had finished second and third respectively, were relegated by the commissaries. The stage was won by Dylan Groenewegen (Lotto NL-Jumbo).
UAE Team Emirates’ Doctor Angelucci reported:
“X-rays reported no fractures for Martin. He suffered a lumbar trauma and superficial wounds on the lumbar zone, as well as some grazing on his left elbow and back.”
Commenting on the crash Dan Martin said:
“Obviously I’ve felt better. But it could have been a lot worse. It was just a case of wrong place, wrong time. There was a break ahead of us, someone moved across and took my front wheel away. I couldn’t do anything about it. I know the time loss isn’t the best thing, but the guys did a great job of bringing me back up. Thankfully nothing is broken, so now I need to focus on tomorrow’s stage, survive the cobblestones and then we’ll see how things are after the rest day. I’ve already won a stage and as I’ve said – anything else is just a bonus.”
Martin will continue his Tour de France in Sunday’s Stage 9, possibly the most feared parcours of the entire Tour for the GC contenders. The race leaves Arras Citadelle for Roubaix along a 156.5km route which features 22 kilometres of cobbles divided into 15 different sectors, starting at the 108.5km mark and only ending with 8km to go.
Stage Eight Results
1 Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) – Lotto Jumbo NL 4h12’26”
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) – Bora-hansgrohe s.t.
3 John Degekolb (Ger) – Trek-Segafredo s.t.
4 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) – UAE Team Emirates s.t.
Overall General Classification after Stage 8
1 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) – BMC 32h43’00”
2 Geraint Thomas (GBr) – Team Sky 7″
3 Teejay Van Garderen (USA) – BMC 9″
31 Daniel Martin (Ire) – UAE Team Emirates +2’47”