Tour de France: Marseille done, next stop Paris
Dan Martin didn't have any problems in defending his position in the general classification in Saturday's individual time trial.
Former European Capital of Culture and one of France's largest cities, Marseille welcomed the Tour de France on Saturday afternoon for the final stage which could have provided one last important shake-up of the general classification. The route was a fairly flat one, except for the short unclassified climb of Notre-Dame de la Garde, which featured in the second part of the stage and averaged 9.5% over 1200 meters.
Jack Bauer was one of the early starters and the 30-year-old Kiwi scorched the course in 28:56, a time which was good for third in the provisional standings. At the end of the day, the New Zealand National ITT Champion finished just outside the top 10 on the stage won by Maciej Bodnar (Bora-Hansgrohe) ahead of Team Sky duo Michal Kwiatkowski and Chris Froome, the latter extending his lead in the overall rankings.
A confident and composed Dan Martin didn't take any risks in the 22.5km stage and averaged 44.82km/h, stopping the clock in 30:07, which meant the Quick-Step Floors rider successfully defended his sixth place in the general classification on Stade Velodrome, which last hosted a stage at the Grand Boucle half a century ago; now, only 100 kilometers separate the Irishman from his best ever result in a Grand Tour.
"I am tired, it's been a really tough Tour de France and frankly I had no more power left in my legs, but ignored that feeling and rode as hard as I could. I tried to enjoy the great atmosphere the fans in Marseille created on the roads and here, in Stade Velodrome. It was really special to start and finish a stage in the stadium", the 30-year-old said after the race's penultimate stage.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele