Thursday 22 August 2019

'I was feeling good and then the lights just went out' - Dan Martin 'can't say' why Tour was so disappointing

Cousins Nicolas Roche and Dan Martin enjoy a selfie during the Tour de France
Cousins Nicolas Roche and Dan Martin enjoy a selfie during the Tour de France

Ian Parker

A frustrated Dan Martin said he could feel the "lights go out" too many times as a Tour de France which began with high hopes ended in disappointment for the UAE Team Emirates rider.

The Irishman was looking to build on a string of top 10 finishes over the last three years and had his eyes on a podium spot, but instead faded to finish 18th, more than 44 minutes behind Egan Bernal who is set to be crowned the winner in Paris on Sunday.

Martin was coy on the reasoning and said he needed to have a full debrief with his team before saying more.

"It's been a bit strange really," Martin said. "Obviously I came in with really excellent condition and for whatever reason it just didn't happen.

"I think the team's got to look at why the performance wasn't there."

Asked if he could explain it, Martin said: "I know, but I can't say. We'll look at it and talk to the team about it and you'll find out soon enough.

"I had the condition, there was just something blocking me and that's what was frustrating."

Martin said he did not believe there was anything wrong with his preparation, but something affected him during the race.

"I came in with excellent condition, it's just the way it is," he said. "The body emptied and I had no power in the finishes. Every day I was in the mountains and I was in the break, I was feeling good and then suddenly the lights just went out."

Martin said he was at least able to enjoy Saturday's penultimate stage from Albertville to Val Thorens, shortened to just 59 kilometres due to landslides and bad weather in the Alps.

"It was nice to finish on what was probably one of my best days of the race," said Martin, who was 19th on the day, two minutes 10 seconds behind stage winner Vincenzo Nibali.

"It was a different type of race and maybe it's something we need to look at.

"Everybody agreed last year the 65km stage was one of the best stages of the race. Rather than have all the mountain stages the same distance, the same kind of script, maybe it's good to have stages like this.

"It's a completely different type of racing and it's good for the riders."

PA Media

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