Martin unconcerned by ifs and buts

Le Puy-en-Velay - Dan Martin brushed off suggestions he could already be in yellow at the Tour de France as the Irishman continued to snare precious seconds on Sunday. 

The 30-year-old Quick-Step rider finished the day fifth overall at 1min 12sec behind race leader Chris Froome after snatching 14 seconds in a typically bold late attack, 12km from the finish.

It was the fourth day in a row that he's picked up a few seconds on all or at least some of his rivals in the top 10. 

"I was six seconds off seventh (place) last year and finished ninth (overall). So every second counts at the Tour," he said. 

"Everyone was on the limit today. The rest day's tomorrow, so I can recover. 

"It's been a really brutal week. Really hot day as well. 

"There's a lot of suffering going on in there. That's why you're seeing guys cracking."

Nairo Quintana was the latest to crack and give up significant time, almost four minutes by the finish, leaving him 11th overall at 6:16. 

Martin's own time loss wasn't the result of cracking though, but simply of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

Last Sunday he was unlucky to be taken out by Richie Porte when the Australian crashed spectacularly on a perilous descent during the ninth stage. 

That cost Martin 1min 15sec by the finish, less than his current gap to Froome. 

But the straight-talking Irishman dismissed any notion he could be in yellow if it wasn't for that.

"It's all, 'what if', you know. I might have been in yellow and then lost five minutes because everyone attacks the hell out of me," he said. 

"The situation is the situation, and we're always going to wonder, 'what if?' 

"But this is the hand we've been dealt. Maybe all these seconds I've been picking up, they would never have let me go."

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