Ineos Grenadiers was setting the pace at that point before Jumbo-Visma took over, and Martin and Bardet both dragged the yellow jersey group over 20 seconds to the top of the Col de Néronne 11km from the end. . Their deficit quickly widened on the short but terribly steep climb to the finish, where the strength of Pogačar and Roglič shattered the group of favorites ahead of them.
Martin fought boldly to reach the top of the Néronne a little over 10 seconds in the reduced yellow jersey group, but the gap widened on the plateau leading to the base of Puy Mary, where he had his Bahrain McLaren teammate from Mikel Landa, Pello Bilbao. on his wheel. Once the slope started to bite into Le Puy Mary, Martin’s deficit extended further, and he was caught and passed by Bardet on the final slopes of the climb.
“I fell near the top [of the Neronne]. I didn’t miss a lot, but I got past the first 10 seconds and it changed my run, ”said Martin France Televisions. “It meant I was alone on the flat part, the transition before the last climb. I lost a lot of time and especially a lot of energy there, and it cost me on the last climb, where I lost a lot of time. It was a bad day, but the Tour is obviously not over.
The 27-year-old has improved in his three Tour appearances to date and entered the 2020 edition on a high note after a fine third place at the Critérium du Dauphiné. Martin impressed at Orcières-Merlette on stage 4 and again on the Col de Peyresourde on Saturday, although he was among the cutters of stage 10 at Île de Ré. He described his struggles at Puy Mary simply as a ‘bad day».
“In the heat of the moment it’s hard to explain, it’s just that the others were stronger: I’m not looking for excuses,” said Martin. “It was a bad day. We’ll see if I’m coming back down or if it was just a bad day, but anyway I’m still motivated for what’s to come.
Martin had started the Tour with the stated goal of winning a stage rather than aiming for a high overall finish, a topic he touched on in an interview with Cycling earlier this year, when he noted that his 12th place finish in the 2019 race had gone almost unnoticed.
“I was consistent every day, but there was never a big gesture,” Martin said of last year’s race. “It was a Tour where I was satisfied with the job done, but I left with a slight feeling that something was missing.
Now more than three minutes on Roglič and two minutes from the podium, he could have more freedom of movement in the days to come.
The disappointment was perhaps more pronounced for Bardet, who was racing at home in Auvergne and had had his best opening half of a Tour since his last climb on the podium three years ago.
“It couldn’t have been worse today,” Bardet said, according to Cyclismactu. “A runner lost control in front of me. I avoided it but fell to 65 km / h. I hit my head and had a hard time getting out of it. The crash left its mark on my right leg. I lost all my feelings after the crash. It’s a day to forget from a sporting point of view. I was cursed. I will recover and start looking for stage wins now. The general classification? It’s too far now. It’s a shame, everything was going well. It’s a big stroke of bad luck. ”
Bardet and Martin will look to respond in the coming days, but after Thibaut Pinot and Julian Alaphilippe both pulled out of the yellow jersey fight in the Pyrenees, France’s hopes of closing the 35-year gap with the Bernard Hinault’s final victory on the Tour seem to have been extinguished in the Massif Central.
Difficult day on @LeTour. Disappointed but not dejected. Some difficulties at the end of today’s stage. Disappointed but not resignated. Already looking [email protected] pic.twitter.com/KotVFZUG67September 11, 2020