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Dublin: 11 °C Tuesday 23 April, 2019
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Dan Martin notches new record on way up Le Tour standings

The Irish rider pushed his way into the GC top 20, but there was no change at the top with Van Avermaet keeping hold of the yellow jersey.

France Cycling Tour de France Martin making one of today's four climbs. Source: Peter Dejong

DAN MARTIN JUMPED seven places in the Tour de France general classification today thanks to an outstanding attack up the final climb of stage 10, the Col de la Colombiere.

Though it wasn’t enough to reel in stage winner Julian Alaphilippe, Martin’s race up the to the 1,613 summit was completed in record time. His 21.50 split eclipses Juan Mauricio Soler’s 2007 mark of 22.05 according to climbing-records.com.

Martin’s descent saw him rejoined by the chasing pack which included BMC’s Greg van Avermaet, who holds onto the yellow jersey (five minutes clear of Martin) thanks to his effort on the first mountain stage.

Alaphilippe, of the Quick Step team, launched an audacious lone attack on the third and penultimate climb and went on to solo over the finish several minutes ahead of the main peloton.

Days after France’s World Cup victory, Alaphilippe handed the hosts their maiden win of the race — and soothed the personal pain of two frustrating years hoping to bag his maiden Tour stage win.

“I can’t describe it. Going for a win like this was a big dream for me,” said Alaphilippe, who twice came close to winning a stage on his debut in 2016 before being sidelined by injury in 2017.

I’ve worked really hard for this. Not everyone realises how important it is for a cyclist to take part in the Tour. For a Frenchman it’s simply unavoidable. I’m happy the last 10 km was downhill because it gave me the chance to understand what was happening to me.”

Expected to challenge overnight leader Van Avermaet for the right to wear the race’s fabled tunic into Wednesday’s 11th stage, the Sky team of champion Chris Froome failed to muster a challenge despite their best-placed rider, Geraint Thomas, sitting only 43secs behind the Belgian in the overall standings.

Van Avermaet, who is not a specialist climber, appeared under threat at the beginning of the 158.5 km race from Annecy featuring four categorised climbs and with a downhill finish into Le Grand Bornand.

But the wily BMC rider outfoxed Sky by joining an early breakaway that went on to build a healthy lead on the main peloton and stymie whatever plans Sky may have had of taking control of the race, which at one point was quite literally overshadowed by a thrill-seeking BMX rider who flew across the peloton as it climbed a narrow portion of the route.

As Alaphilippe surged towards his memorable first win, Van Avermaet produced a fantastic performance to finish just 1min 44secs behind, with Thomas, Froome and Team Sky crossing the line over three minutes behind the stage winner.

In the overall standings Van Avermaet now leads Thomas, in second, by 2min 22secs, with Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) now up to third overall at 3:10.

Van Avermaet explained: “I was waiting for a reaction from Sky when I went to try and get in the breakaway, but nobody reacted. Once I was in it, I knew it could be a good day.

France Cycling Tour de France Greg van Avermaet leads the peloton on a gravel road today. Source: Peter Dejong

“Alaphilippe was too strong for me to hope to win today, but I’m happy finishing fourth. And I’m really happy to keep the yellow jersey another day.”

Froome, who is bidding for his fourth consecutive Grand Tour win and fifth overall, is up to sixth place at 3:21.

The 11th stage, held between Albertville and La Rosiere, features four categorised climbs and the first summit finish of the race after a tough 108 km.

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