UAE Team Emirates rider Daniel Martin admits he is not in peak condition yet but is building towards being in form for the Tour de France after claiming a podium place on Stage 4 of the Criterium du Dauphine.
The Irishman almost stole the show on the first summit finish, putting in a sterling display on the climb at Lans-En-Vercors.
Coming to the end of the 181km stage, Martin looked set to steal the victory with a perfectly timed attack, but Alaphilippe just about resisted and pipped the UAE Team Emirates rider to the line.
Commenting on the result, Martin said: “I feel good, I came into the race without expectations. Just race with a smile on my face, I knew I was in good condition.”
And with the 31-year-old looking to reach his best form for Le Tour next month, Martin is encouraged by his performance.
“I just don’t have that sprint yet, but it’s coming,” he added.
“I’m happy, it was a good day and the team did a good job. It’s great in the new team environment. I had good legs in training all year, but it hasn’t come together in races for some reason.
“It’s good to get that result, it’s a relief and it’s a positive sign for the next few days. I’m still waiting for the Tour de France, I’m not in top condition, but this is a good sign for July.”
The podium finish also pushes Martin up to 20th in the overall classification, 02:40 behind the new race leader, Gianni Moscon, of Team Sky.
Friday’s fifth stage, and the second of four consecutive summit finishes, ends at the popular ski resort of Valmorel. Martin and his rivals will face a 130km route featuring two climbs, both category two, in the first 20km and then the 12.7km summit finish which averages a seven per cent incline.
Stage 4 results:
General Classification standings:
UAE Team Emirates rider Dan Martin had no luck on his side during stage two of the Criterium du Dauphine as he finished 32nd.
The 31-year-old, who finished third in the 2016 and 2017 editions of the race, is bidding for his third consecutive podium finish in France as he continues his preparations for next month’s Tour de France.
Daryl Impey of the Mitchelton team dominated the bunch sprint to win yesterday’s second stage of the eight-day race in France.
Sky’s Polish rider Michal Kwiatkowski retains the yellow overall leader’s jersey after his victory in the prologue, a 6.6km time trial on Sunday.
Speaking after the stage finish in Saint-Just-Saint-Rambert, Martin said: “I managed to reach the arrival in the first group: the stage profile was not as demanding compared to previous years, however, two crashes in the final 15 km split the group.
“(Sven Erik) Bystrøm, (Valerio) Conti, (Edward) Ravasi and I succeeded in being with the front of the race. I was following Conti and I was very close to crashing, but I managed to avoid to being involved.
“I feel pretty good, I really hope to repeat the podium results of the past two years, when I was third.
He added: “The Dauphine is important also because it’s a mini-Tour de France, with an individual time trial, a team time trial – things that are hard to mimic in training – and because we race on some of the same roads that we are going to face in the 11th stage of the Tour.”
Best for UAE Team Emirates were: Valerio Conti (18th), Sven Erik Bystrøm (22nd), Edward Ravasi (38th), Rory Sutherland (118th), Simone Petilli (122nd) and Manuele Mori (143rd).
Today’s third stage will see the peloton tackle a 181km ride from Montbrison to Belleville.
UAE Team Emirates’ Diego Ulissi finished just shy of his third podium place at GP Lugano in Switzerland on Sunday.
The 28-year-old Italian, who finished third and second in the 2014 and 2016 editions of the race, could only settle for fourth following a 185.6km ride around the south Switzerland town.
Hermann Pernsteiner (Bahrain-Merida) barrelled over the finish in triumph ahead of Kristian Sbaragli (Italy) and Enrico Gasparotto (Bahrain-Merida).
Ulissi arrived to the line 1 min 40 seconds behind the winner.
He said: “I did everything possible to take on the numerical advantage of Team Bahrain-Merida. Pernsteiner made a good move and proved to have strong legs to win the race. He looked unstoppable out there.
“I felt brilliant around the course, and that’s over a course that had 4000 metres of climbing. I’m happy with this result, although a place on the podium would have been favourable.”
Best for UAE Team Emirates were Filippo Ganna (28th), while Simone Consonni, Anass Ait El Abdia, Aleksandr Riabushenko, Jan Polanc and Ben Swift failed to set a time.