UAE Team Emirates’ Dan Martin produced another consistent ride to grab sixth place on the final stage of the Criterium du Dauphine on Sunday.
It was the Irishman’s fourth top-10 finish this week – after building further on his consistent showing at the Tour de Romandie at the end of April.
The 31-year-old joined the counter-attacking group early on in the race and was successful in chasing down the escape initiated by Edward Ravasi until the final 10 kilometres.
On the climb to Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc, he attempted to move free but had to remain satisfied with his win on stage five.
Briton Adam Yates (Mitchelton–Scott) won the concluding 136km stage ahead of overall winner Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) and Daniel Navarro Garcia (Cofidis).
In the final overall classification, Martin finished in fourth, 2 minute 35 seconds behind the victorious Welshman.
And with the Tour de France starting in less than a month, it was the perfect preparation for Martin as he bids to improve on his sixth place finish in the 2017 edition of the race.
He said: “I felt good the entire stage, but in the final kilometers, my legs didn’t respond how I thought they would.
“I’m still happy with the overall results in this race. I’m at a physical level I didn’t really expect for this time of the year.”
Although he did not add to his two podium finishes in previous editions of the Criterium, Martin was still pleased to have completed Sunday’s final stage in fourth position in the General Classifications.
“I won a beautiful stage and I took fourth overall. The team were very young here and they rode well at my side and continued to work strongly the entire week. They were incredible,” Martin said.
“We struggled in the team time trial, but in the mountain stages, my teammates were always there, and were first in the escapes and then with support.
“Now, I’m going to recover for a few days and then build towards the Tour de France.”
Best for UAE Team Emirates on stage seven were: Valerio Conti (16th), Edward Ravasi (17th), Simone Petilli (76th) and Rory Sutherland (90th).
Geraint Thomas survived a late scare to win the Criterium du Dauphine on Sunday as Adam Yates won the final stage to consolidate second place.
Team Sky’s Thomas suffered two punctures during the 136-kilometre stage from Moutiers to St Gervais Mont Blanc, but took a wheel from a team-mate on the second occasion and was paced back to the peloton by Michal Kwiatkowski and Dylan van Baarle.
The 32-year-old Welshman eventually finished fifth, 19 seconds behind Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) whose 10-second time bonus for winning the stage reduced his overall deficit to Thomas to one minute exactly.
“It’s amazing to win such a prestigious race,” Thomas said in quotes reported on the race’s official website.
“It’s incredible. I didn’t let myself think so far ahead. I was always thinking of the next day or the next day. Now I realise I’ve won a massive race.
“Punctures today didn’t really help. I had to chase back on. The guys rode really well for me. On the last climb, I just knew I had about 1’20” to lose on Yatesy.
“Each kilometre I was more confident and happier. Finally, at 200 (metres) to go, when they started sprinting for the win, I was relieved. I can rest a little bit and wait for July. This is a confidence booster for the Tour (de France).”
Spain’s Daniel Navarro (Cofidis) had looked set to win the stage until Yates launched a late attack from the chasing group and caught Navarro on the final bend.
France’s Romain Bardet finished third on the stage and in the general classification, with Ireland’s Dan Martin 48 seconds behind in fourth.
An aggressive UAE Team Emirates took on the gruelling Criterium du Dauphine stage to La Rosiere, a similar route the riders will face on the 11th stage of the upcoming Tour de France.
Valerio Conti formed part of the large escape, which survived until the last kilometres, when the Italian worked with Dan Martin to attempt to bridge the gap opened up by Pello Bilbao (Astana) and others.
Bilbao made his move late on during the demanding stage and sprinted over the line in triumph to record his second stage win of the season.
Overall leader Geraint Thomas crossed the line in second, with Martin in third.
The late move by the UAE duo saw the 31-year-old jump up 10 places in the overall classification, with the Irishman now fourth 2 mins 30 secs behind Thomas.
Martin said: “I wanted to take advantage of the good legs that I have, but it truly was a hard day.
“The final was very tactical, maybe that’s because the classification men are a little tired, and we weren’t able to pull in Bilbao like I would’ve wanted.
“Let’s see tomorrow how I am, but I’ll try to do well in the final stage, and my overall classification will benefit as a result.”
The last stage of the Criterium du Dauphine travels 136 kilometres from Moutiers to the summit finish up to Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc.