Ireland’s Dan Martin produced a stunning performance to claim stage nine of the Tour de France in the Pyrenees on Sunday as Team Sky’s Chris Froome was forced to dig deep to retain the yellow jersey.
While Froome found himself isolated in a chase group with Alberto Contador and Cadel Evans, Garmin-Sharp’s Martin waited until the last of the day’s five climbs to move clear along with Jakob Fuglsang, with the pair working hard for each other on the descent to Bagneres-de-Bigorre.
Despite a late surge from the Dane, Martin stepped it up a gear at the final turn and timed his sprint perfectly to secure a hard fought win, becoming the first Irish rider to win a stage of the Tour since 1992.
Both riders eventually crossed the finish line in an impressive time of 4 hours, 43 minutes and 3 seconds, with the peloton, headed by Poland’s Michal Kwiatkowski, 20 seconds further adrift.
Froome still leads Alejandro Valverde by 1 minute and 25 seconds in the overall standings while team-mate Richie Porte dropped outside the top 10 after finishing more than 10 minutes behind.