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COGNE, Italy (VN) – On a day when the general classification favorites neutralized each other on the long and undulating climb up the Giro d’Italia’s stage 15 finish at Cogne, Guillaume Martin took advantage to recoup some of the losses that he’d suffered the previous day in Turin, going clear of the maglia rosa group on the penultimate climb and pressing on alone to gain 1 minute and 42 seconds at the finish, boosting him to 10th overall.
It was a performance that typified the Frenchman, who often seems to yo-yo in the upper reaches of the classification in Grand Tours, losing one day, recouping the next. During this race, the Frenchman fell away from the GC contenders on Mount Etna, then reappeared among them on the frantic stage around Naples, where he jumped to fourth overall.
Still fifth going into Saturday’s Turin stage, Martin was one of the many riders who struggled in the intense heat. “It was really suffocating. The fact that we were in an urban environment accentuated the feeling of heat. It was undoubtedly a factor that complicated things for me today,” he said at the finish.
As a result of that torrid day, he dropped out of the top 10, falling to 12th. In that position, most other GC leaders would have been tempted to lose more time in order to open up the opportunity to chase stage wins, but Martin opted to try to bounce back.
“I lost 10 minutes yesterday, and I’ve taken back I don’t know how many today, although not too much,” said the Frenchman soon after crossing the finish line. “I think what I really wanted to do today [Sunday] was to enjoy myself. I didn’t get a lot of pleasure out of racing yesterday. I did a good chunk of the stage all alone yesterday, a long way off the pace. Today, I did a good chunk of it alone, had the company of other riders at some points, but enjoyed it a lot more,”.
“In cycling, you have to find a way to draw some pleasure. And as a result of that it could well be that I’ll be back in the top 10. If I hadn’t needed to rest on what is the rest day tomorrow, I’m not sure that I would have done my job properly. I saw the opening and I took it, and it also helped to reassure me about my condition.”
The Cofidis leader admitted that his performance had enabled him to look forward to the mountainous days that lie ahead behind the rest day. “I think I needed that because I was rather worried about my form yesterday. Today, it wasn’t superb, but I did feel pretty good. The final week is super mountainous and I hope to produce some good performances. I’ll go into it with real ambition,” Martin concluded.