Top Banana: Tour de France stage 9 – Dan Martin
Where to start? On one on the most dramatic Tour stages in memory, there were more talking points than we could count, and more contenders for our Top Banana ride of the day than ever.
Warren Barguil, on the attack for the second day running, looked to have taken the stage and was shepherded towards the winner’s enclosure, only for the photo finish to show Rigoberto Uran’s superior lunge had done the business by a whisker. The Frenchman took over the polka dot jersey by way of consolation.
Talking of Uran, the Colombian has remained winless since 2015 and was not high on anybody’s list of contenders for this year’s Tour, understandably. The Cannondale-Drapac rider forced a reassessment after today’s remarkable performance. With a malfunctioning rear mech leaving him with a choice of either big ring or small, he seemed the least likely man to take the six-up sprint, yet wound up the 53 x 11 with such force that nobody could take his wheel. A stunning ride.
But this prize does not get given to stage winners, does it?
Romain Bardet – and indeed the whole AG2R team – played a blinder, Bardet classic descending move on the treacherous Col du Chat leaving everyone trailing in his wake.
Finally, when it comes to outsider contenders, Dan Martin would not have been a man on many people’s lips before Düsseldorf, but has been in great form and raced smart from the off.
Richie Porte’s sickening crash on the descent of the Col du Chat took out the Irishman at the same time. Porte was out of the race, sadly, but Martin bounced back and limited his losses. Had he not lost 1’15” today due to the crash, he’d be sitting in third on GC.
And for that, on a day that will be talked about for years to come, we say Dan Martin: you are a Top Banana.
Tour de France 2017: Rouleur Top Bananas
Stage 1 – Taylor Phinney
Stage 2 – Tony Gallopin
Stage 3 – Juraj Sagan
Stage 4 – Guillaume Van Keirsbulck
Stage 5 – Stefan Küng
Stage 6 – Frederik Backaert
Stage 7 – Reinardt Rense van Rensburg
The Rouleur Classic, London, November 2-4
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