Dani Martínez (EF Pro Cycling) took a breathtaking stage win on Friday’s thirteenth stage of the Tour de France beating Lennard Kämna (BORA – hansgrohe) on the summit finish at Pas de Peyrol (Le Puy Mary).
The stage set off from Châtel-Guyon, faced a whopping seven categorised climbs and ended at Puy Mary, a steep volcanic climb in the Massif Central. The total elevation gain of the day was 4400m; the most climbing of all 21 stages in the Tour this year.
The mountain stage saw early attacks from the get-to. After a high-tempo start, a five-man early breakaway turned into 17 riders, including Martínez. His team-mate Neilson Powless surged ahead with 40km to go at the foot of the Côte d’Anglards-de-Salers, riding ahead in a solo break as the chase group dropped behind. He was the first to cross the summit on that climb, earning him two KOM points before losing his lead to Max Schachmann of Bora–Hansgrohe.
When the chase group arrived on the Col de Nerrone, Dani Martínez together with Lenni Kämna launched an attack behind leader Schachmann. Reaching the base of the final climb, the Puy Mary Cantal, Martínez battled hard with Kämna glued to his wheel, catching Schachmann and pushing onward.
The three men suffered up the punishing 15% grade, the two Bora riders trailing Martínez. Schachmann fell off the back and in the final gruelling metres of the day it was a head-to-head battle between Martínez and Kämna. It was Martínez who ultimately overpowered the German rider on the steep uphill sprint, sailing up over the summit finish line to victory.
Dani Martínez – “I haven’t had the easiest of weeks. I didn’t have great sensations in the legs, I was a little shaken after my crash, but I knew I could win a stage and I did just that.
“After my win at the Critérium du Dauphiné, of course I was feeling great. After the Dauphiné I recovered pretty well, and had good sensations at the beginning of the Tour. But after the crash and after losing quite a bit of time I wasn’t there mentally. But then I told myself I had to move on and I will fight for a stage win. I was looking for stages I could win and I just won this one.
“Of course, yes, I was scared when I was along against the two Bora Riders. At the end of the stage when they were the only ones left with me and I saw they were close, I tried to follow for a bit. But then I worked and worked and gave everything on the climb. With 5km to go, I saw they were both struggling, and I could see that Kämna couldn’t hold his sprint and I knew that I could beat him.
“When we knew that Neilson Powless was with Schachmann, I kind of relaxed. But then he got dropped and I had work hard to bring him back along with the other riders in the breakaway. Once I was alone with Kämna I decided to set my pace and go full gas until the very end. I felt like Max Schachmann would be quite a bit stronger than me in the flat and downhill sections, but I managed to bridge back to him with 2km to go.
“The team strategy was actually to support Rigoberto Urán until the very end but the circumstances changed early on. I saw that I had good legs and I saw a possibility to get into the breakaway and look for the stage victory.
“We are living a great moment for Colombian cycling. We have four riders in the top ten of the GC which is the most of any country in history, and everyone has a chance to contend for the win. There are many hard stages ahead and I, for one, will support Rigoberto Urán fully who is in great shape at the moment.
“I think that we, the Colombian riders at the Tour de France, but also the riders in the youth ranks and at all the races, are showing everyday how deep the talent is.”