Cofidis team leader Guillaume Martin heads into the 2020 Tour de France‘s first rest day on Monday in third place overall, 28 seconds behind new race leader Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma). The big question now, with more than half of this year’s Grande Boucle yet to be raced, is whether he can retain his podium position all the way to Paris.
The 27-year-old Frenchman came into this year’s Tour with the stated aim of taking a stage win and ideally bettering his 12th place overall of last year. Thoughts of a stage victory, however, may now have to take a back seat in favour of protecting his high overall placing, although he still claims that trying to win the Tour isn’t the goal.
Martin has occupied third spot on the GC since the dramatic and windswept seventh stage on Friday, when he leapfrogged UAE Team Emirates’ Tadej Pogačar, who lost 1:21 on the stage, with a number of other big-name riders also losing out.
Martin then retained his position during stage 8 on Saturday, while the game of musical chairs in the top 10 after Sunday’s ninth stage saw race leader Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) fall to eighth place, Pogačar gain more time to move up to seventh, defending champion Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) move up three places – including leapfrogging Martin – to second, and Roglič replace Yates at the top of the GC.
Through it all – and after working hard in the second group on the road to try to catch stage winner Pogačar, Roglič, the day’s breakaway hero Marc Hirschi (Sunweb), Bernal and Bahrain McLaren’s Mikel Landa – Martin limited his losses and crossed the line in seventh place, 11 seconds down, and conserved his third place overall.
“It’s a great result, especially because I don’t have the pretension to fight to win the Tour de France,” Martin said, according to his team, on Sunday. “It was a very fast ride all day, and I was careful with the speed. At the top of the Col de Marie Blanque, I was able to follow the best riders, and to then finish only 11 seconds behind some very classy riders, with their credentials, is a great performance.”
While being 28 seconds off Roglič’s lead, Martin is only seven seconds off Bernal’s second place, while Martin’s compatriot Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) is only two seconds behind in fourth place.
“This Tour is far from being over,” Martin added. “For the moment, it’s been a success for me, and the rhythm is very good. We have to hold on for two more weeks, and lot of things can still happen.
“We haven’t seen any easy days yet,” he said, clearly looking forward to the rest day on Monday. “First of all, we’re going to rest, and make a detailed assessment [of the race so far], and then we’ll approach this next week with as much passion and motivation as before.”