• Dan Martin gapped Chris Froome on stage 12 of the 2017 Tour de France and now lies in fifth place overall (Getty)Source: Getty
Suffering since his crash with Richie Porte on stage 9, Dan Martin (QuickStep Floors) grimaced through 214 kilometres and six categorised climbs to move to fifth overall.
14 Jul 2017 - 7:59 AM  UPDATED 14 Jul 2017 - 9:10 AM

Bardet conquers the Pyrenees, Aru in yellow
Romain Bardet (AG2R) and Fabio Aru (Astana) were the big winners from the Tour de France's excursion into the Pyrenees.

In the final 300 metres on the Peyragudes, the GC favourites lashed out, with Romain Bardet (AG2R) and Fabio Aru (Astana) reaping the most rewards. But despite pain in his back, Martin was able to follow.

And in what must be a confidence boost, the Irishman also managed to gap a struggling Chris Froome (Sky) by nine seconds on the ramp up to the finish. 

"I felt terrible in the first 50 kilometres of the stage," the 30-year-old said. "And I thought I will lose half an hour, as I had a really bad day and nothing in the legs, but fortunately I got through this very difficult stage without conceding too much time.

"I suffered all day long due to that pain I have since crashing on the roads to Chambery, so that's why I rode conservatively and can say I am really happy with my result.

"The stage was brutal and everyone was exhausted at the finish. I couldn't get out of the saddle properly, so that's why I rode as hard as I could to the line, which never seemed to arrive.

"Normally, it would have been a great finish for me, but wasn't the case, as the circumstances were different."

"But I'm happy with the outcome and with the fine job of the team, the boys believe in me 100% and it's really great to see that!"

Martin is taking things day by day and hopes to recover before next week's jaunt to the Alps.  

Martin's Irish eyes might be smiling in Paris
Dan Martin (QuickStep Floors) is an understated shot at the Tour de France podium that defending champion Chris Froome is beginning to scrutinise as the race readies for the Pyrenees.