Dani Martinez climbs to 1st Tour de France stage victory
By Chuck Gibson (Interview quotes provided by Le Tour de France)
INTERNATIONAL (September 11, 2020) – It took all of 191.5 Kilometers (nearly 119 miles) and just over 5 hours in the mountains for Columbian rider Dani Martinez to claim victory in Stage 13 of the Tour de France today.
American Neilson Powless rode into the lead with an early attack, but was caught by German, Max Schachmann with about 29 Km to go. They worked together until Schachmann launched himself into the lead with a solo attack near 18 Km to go. No counter attacks reached him until his teammate Lennard Kamna and Dani Martinez were able to bridge the gap and come together with him at about 1.8 Km to go. They still had 5K (just over 3 miles) of a 15-percent gradient uphill climb to the finish.
“With 5km missing, when we reached the last climb, I told myself: “Normally Schachmann goes faster than me in the downhill and on the flat”,” said Martinez. “I thought I’d be fighting for the second place. But I didn’t surrender and I ended up catching him.”
From there, the racing belonged to Martinez and Kamna as Schachmann was spent and dropped off their pace. Martinez and Kamna provided a spectacular finish trading attacks and counter attacks to the end. Kamna attacked with about 300 meters to go, but Martinez answered with a powerful counter to cross the finish line first claiming his first stage victory, and the first for his native Columbia in the 2020 Tour de France.
“I’m very happy,” Martinez said. “The truth is this victory is very special for me. I was confident to beat Kämna in the sprint and it happened like this. It’s incredible to win a Tour de France stage!”
Martinez said he dedicated this stage to his son who will turn two years old in just a couple days. Primoz Roglic dedicated the day to keeping the Yellow Jersey, the overall lead, and widening the gap for those chasing him. He came in safely alongside fellow Slovenian rider Tadej Pogacar after the fellow countrymen had dropped Egan Bernal. The powerful ride from Roglic and Pogacar launched Pogacar up to #2 in the overall standings with a 44 second gap to the #1 spot. Meanwhile Bernal dropped from #2, just 22 seconds behind the leader, to #3 now 59 seconds back.
The climbing took a toll on other contenders today with Frenchmen Romain Bardet and Guillaume falling to #11and # 12 after being in the top four at the end of Stage 12. Primoz Roglic will wear the Yellow Jersey again Saturday for Stage 14. This time his fellow Slovenian rider Tadej Pogacar will be chasing him from 44 seconds behind.
“Primoz and I fighting up a final steep hill, it’s like at the Machucos during La Vuelta last year,” said Pogacar. “It was a tough battle. We weren’t friends in the last 2km! I gained time on everyone except Roglic. I’m very happy. The team remained calm and did a good job with David [De La Cruz] in the breakaway. For sure you’ll see more attacking next week.”
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