On Sunday evening, under a blue and beautiful sky, Dan Martin rode into Paris tucked in the peloton and safely completed the last stage, taking his maiden top 10 finish in Le Tour.
There was a brief moment of panic inside the last 25 kilometres of stage 21, when Dan punctured, but a fast wheel change meant that he was back in the bunch in no time. By coming 9th, not only that he nabbed his best ever result in four Tour de France participations, but he also brought Ireland its top placing in the general classification since 1992, when his uncle Stephen Roche concluded also in 9th place.
After finishing on the podium of Volta a Catalunya and of the Critérium du Dauphiné in his first six months with Etixx–Quick-Step, showing a remarkable consistency in all the races he’s done, Dan Martin lined up for the Grande Boucle with the ambition of doing a good general classification, and the top 10 he got in Paris, where he concluded the race less than three minutes off the podium, came as extra confirmation of the fact he’s stepped up his game since the beginning of the season.
“This was a Tour of firsts: first time I’ve targeted the general classification, first Grand Tour with Etixx–Quick-Step. It was a learning experience for both parties, but if there’s a thing it showed me, is that I have room to improve and go for an even better result. We got 16 top 10 placings, and this just shows the incredible depth of the team. We were the only team who rode for the sprints and for the overall, we animated the race in numerous occasions and I think we have to be happy with what we did”, said Dan minutes after arriving on the Champs-Élysées.