Nicolas Roche continued a fine start to the Tour de France for Irish riders by being named 'most combative' on stage 6.
While not a day for the sprinters, Sam Bennett (Deceuninck Quick-Step) managed to extend his lead in the battle for the green jersey. He now has a 12-point advantage over Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe).
The stage itself was won by Astana's Alexey Lutsenko, who crossed the line on Mont Aigoual 55-seconds ahead of Jesus Herrera (Cofidis) with Greg Van Avermaet (CCC) in third.
Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) retains the overall race leader's yellow jersey, with a narrow 3-second lead over Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma).
Roche was named most combative having been part of a breakaway that led the way up the Col de la Lusette.
"Exhausted and disappointed," was how the Team Sunweb rider summed up his feelings after the stage.
"I think I had done most of the day pretty good, but unfortunately I think the change in rhythm on those steep ramps of that first category [climb] just completely killed me.
"Maybe I also paid for going that little bit too deep at the start, but it was the gamble, I wanted to be in the breakaway.
"Unfortunately I wasn't strong enough to follow the top guys in that second-last climb".
"Today is a day I wanted to take on; yesterday I was the last Irish man that won an intermediate sprint"
Is léir go bhfuil sé sásta go maith lena taispeántais go dtí seo.
Go on @nicholasroche!! 🥳#TDF2020 pic.twitter.com/emLOAKIlGz
— Spórt TG4 (@SportTG4) September 3, 2020
Roche was asked if he was surprised by the tough gradient on the Col de la Lusette, replying, "No, not surprised because we studied it really well over the last few days because today is a day that I had put down a tick on.
"This is why I also lost time yesterday, purposely in the last 10km to be able to get a bit of a gap for today. So it was always the plan, I studied the stage really well.
"But, yeah sometimes you know about and just the legs don't want to go with it."
With the race entering the Pyrenees over the weekend, Roche plans to try for another stage win.
Today's efforts see him stay 44th on general classification, 11'59" down on Yates.
Dan Martin (Team Israel Start-Up Nation) is 80th overall, 39'49" behind yellow.