Coming into today’s penultimate stage of the Tour de France, Dan Martin sat in ninth position on GC, but with a number of riders close behind and in a position to push the Irish rider out of the top 10.

However, Martin hung on to his overall position and made a bid towards the end to gain a few places overall at the stage finish in Morzine.

On the final climb of the day, the Col de Joux Plane (11.6 km, 8.5%), Martin stayed with the yellow jersey group of Chris Froome (Team Sky) and Froome’s team-mate Geraint Thomas controlled the group on the dodgy descent to Morzine, keeping the race leader out of trouble.

Inside the final kilometre, Martin saw an opportunity to gain some time and attacked to finish 9th on the stage. He gained a handful of seconds on Louis Meintjes (Lampre-Merida) and sits just six seconds off both the South African and Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) who leapfrogged the Irishman on GC.

However, Fabio Aru (Astana) really struggled on the last climb dropping down from 6th to 13th on GC, ensuring that Martin maintained his ninth place overall.

“The weather made the stage different, it was just about surviving out there,” Martin said afterwards. “Julien Vermote and Tony Martin did a great job for me and I want to thank them for their help.”

“I tried to stay as warm as possible and even though I didn’t feel as good as yesterday, I managed to stay with the yellow jersey group and get safely to the finish.”

“Looking on the GC, I am just six seconds off seventh place, but what really counts is that I am lying around 2:30 off the podium, something I would have never imagined last year. This gives me a lot of confidence for 2017.”


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