Irish cyclist Dan Martin says his team were happy with their Tour de France performance but believes he could have secured an even higher standing than his ninth place overall in the general classification.
German Andre Greipel won the final stage of the Tour as Sky’s Chris Froome further secured his place in the sport’s history by winning his third success in the iconic race.
Martin punctured on the streets of Paris but recovered to finish in the front group in 25th place and claim his highest-ever finish.
The Etixx-QuickStep rider was challenging for yellow after a number of strong mountain performances and took five top 10 stage finishes, including second, fourth and fifth.
“The Tour is different to the other grand tours. In the Giro or the Vuelta, those attacks would have paid off"
Speaking to RTÉ Sport, Martin admits that a stage victory would have been the icing on the cake, but appreciates that the team performed very well over the course of the event.
The team had 16 top 10 placings and were the only team who rode for both the sprints and for the overall general classification.
“It would have been nice to turn some of those second places into victories, but not everybody can win,” he said.
“There’s only 21 chances to win, but we got a quarter of second places in this race. We were coached exceptionally well.
“It was so near, yet so far.”
The 29-year-old was aggressive in a number of attacks throughout the 21-stages, but believes the offensive tactics employed would have reaped greater rewards in other races.
“The Tour is different to the other grand tours," he said.
“In the Giro or the Vuelta, those attacks would have paid off, I know they would have. Everybody rides a little differently.
“We’ve learnt that now so we will come back a lot stronger.”
Martin will now turn his attentions to the Olympics where he will represent Ireland alongside Nicolas Roche in the road race competition.
It was also a bright end to the Tour for Sam Bennett as the Irish sprinter claimed a top ten on the final day by coming home in ninth.
The Bora-Argon 18 rider suffered hand injuries that included a broken finger in a crash on the very first day of the race, yet he gritted his way through the mountains to reach Paris and complete a Grand Tour for the first time.