Martin remains confident ahead of Pyrenees
Wout van Aert claimed today's 10th stage of the Tour de France to continue the good form of Belgian riders.
The Team Jumbo-Visma rider claimed a wind-effected sprint into the southern French town of Albi, pipping Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-QuickStep) and Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) to the line.
Van Aert's victory is the third Belgian success on this year's Tour following Dylan Teuns (Bahrain-Merida) on stage 6, and Thomas de Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) on stage 8. It's the first time since 1986 that Belgian riders have won 3 of the opening 10 stages of a single Tour de France.
Cross-winds were an issue for the peloton today, with a number of expected general classification challengers losing ground.
Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) retains the leader's yellow jersey, with a 1'12" lead over defending champion Geraint Thomas (Team Ineos).
Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) is 9th on general classification and was among those to survive the windy conditions today. He admitted the winds made everything that bit more tricky, "The whole stage was nervous and chaotic. As soon as the breakaway went, it was a little bit of crosswind. There were sections where it was nervous and everyone was fighting for position.
That last 90km made everyone nervous, and it was just a constant fight for position. You just had to stay concentrated at all times.
"I just kept that focus and stayed in the top 20 all the time. It's hard mentally, but obviously, it paid off."
Well... that was tight! 😱@JumboVismaRoad's @WoutvanAert gets his first Tour de France stage win after a dramatic sprint finish! #TDF2019 pic.twitter.com/Kryx3MccFI
— Eurosport (@eurosport) July 15, 2019
Tomorrow marks the first of two rest days on this year's Tour, before they resume with a 167km flat stage to Toulouse on Wednesday.
When asked about his form versus that of his rivals, Martin remained cagey, "It's really hard to know at the moment. The biggest effect that this first 10-days has had is the accumulative fatigue.
"You don't know what effect it's had on your rivals. Some guys would have coped with this 10-days better than others, and you'll only that when we hit the first mountain stage next week.
"Even into that last week, it's just a build-up on tiredness. Looking back, I think in the first 10-days now we've done 50-hours on the bike. That's a lot - I don't think I've done a Tour de France where the first rest day is [at] that amount of time.
"We've got one more nervous day after the rest day - to Toulouse - we'll take it day-by-day"
Thursday marks the first flirtation of this year's Tour with the Pyrenees, somewhere Martin is confident of success, "The real race starts, and normally the Pyrenees is where I've done well before. We'll hope to enjoy the race a bit more."