Martin cements top 10 overall at Dauphiné
With one more tough day to go, the Quick-Step Floors rider sits in eighth place.
Côte de Berland, Col du Cucheron, Col de Porte, Côte de Garçin, Col de Sarenne and a shorter version of Alpe d'Huez were part of the menu the organizers served the riders on the penultimate stage of the Criterium du Dauphiné, which kicked off with a mammoth break of 17 riders going clear and establishing a comfortable lead of around seven minutes before the key climbs of the day.
On the 15.3km-long Col de la Sarenne, Peter Kennaugh (Team Sky) and Ben Swift (UAE Team Emirates) managed to extricate themselves from that group and power over the top of the ascent, while from behind Romain Bardet (AG2R) and Andrew Talansky (Cannondale-Drapac) put in a surge that saw them open a gap which alerted the other GC favourites, as the French-American duo posed a serious threat in the standings.
On the rolling terrain leading to the base of Alpe d'Huez (3.7km, 7.2%), Dan Martin tried to surprise his opponents with a cunning attack, but he was reeled in by the yellow jersey, who soon after attacked on the tough slopes of this legendary climb. At the front, Kennaugh dropped Swift and nabbed the stage victory, nearly two minutes ahead of Richie Porte (BMC), who extended his advantage in the standings.
Dan Martin, who had neo-pro Enric Mas by his side in the closing kilometers of the stage, came home in 11th place following another strong and resilient display, dropping both Chris Froome (Team Sky) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), thus consolidating his position in the race rankings. The Irishman, who will be one of the riders to watch out for at the upcoming Tour de France, is in the cards for a second consecutive top 10 finish at the prestigious Criterium du Dauphiné, all that stands between him and this result being stage 8, which is set to take the riders atop the brutal Plateau de Solaison (11.3km, 9.2%).
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele