Irish cyclist Dan Martin held off Denmark’s Jakob Fuglsang in a sprint to the finish to win Stage 9 of the 2013 edition of the Tour de France. Martin passed Fuglsang with a little over 150 meters to go. It was the first stage win for the 26-year-old rider, the nephew of Stephen Roche (the 1987 Tour de France champion).
Finishing twenty seconds behind the two leaders was Chris Froome, the overall leader at this point of the Tour. Although he didn’t win the stage, Froome was pleased with his effort when he spoke after the race:
That was one of the hardest days I’ve ever had on a bike. I’m really happy with how I came through today … It’s not easy to follow Quintana in the climbs. He’s a light little Colombian who can fly up hills — so to cover his attacks definitely wasn’t easy.
Froome now holds a 1:25 lead over Alejandro Valverde. Alberto Contador, a two-time Tour de France winner and Froome’s biggest competition, is back in sixth, 1:51 behind Froome. Today’s winner Martin is 2:28 back.
Froome was once again peppered with questions about blood doping and performance enhancing drugs. He was firm when brushing off the questions, emphasizing that his good performance was due to months of difficult training, not drugs.