Dan Martin Video Interview Part I: Classic wins are possible in the future
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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Dan Martin Video Interview Part I: Classic wins are possible in the future

by Shane Stokes at 4:51 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews, Vuelta a España, Giro di Lombardia, Video
Garmin-Cervélo’s Irish star steps up a level in 2011, big future ahead

Dan MartinIreland’s Dan Martin has said that his runner-up slot in the Giro di Lombaria has convinced him that he has the ability to win a major one day race in the future, and that this has given him confidence looking ahead to next season and beyond.

Earlier this month he led a chase group home eight seconds behind the solo winner Oliver Zaugg (Leopard Trek), winning the small sprint with the same burst of speed which earned him a stage win in the Vuelta a España plus the Giro della Toscana.

He has gained a lot of motivation from that performance, although he also admits that he wishes things played out differently. “Obviously I think you can see by the pictures at the end that I was quite frustrated,” he told VeloNation in a 30 minute video interview recorded recently in Dundrum, Ireland.

“But in hindsight it is a fantastic result and it is great way to go into the off season on such a high. Second place in a monument…there was only one person better than me on the day. That is really exciting for the future, especially considering my build-up to the race.

“It [the result] was a surprise and maybe that is why I raced how I did in the final, as I wasn’t expected to be so good there. Maybe if I had been a bit more confidence, the race might have happened a bit differently. But with the circumstances, it is a fantastic way to end the year. It is a beautiful race that I hope to win some day.”

In the video interview below, Martin speaks about how the race played out and what he could have done differently. He said that the outcome gives him additional motivation that he can shine in the longer Classics. “I have always had confidence that I can do that, [especially] after 2009, getting eighth in Lombardia and fifth in Plouay. Then last year I came close in Plouay to winning.

“I seem to react well in the long Classics, so hopefully we can get my allergies sorted for the start of the year and really hit this top form for the Ardennes Classics…they are races I really love as well.”

In winning that mountain stage in the Vuelta a España, finishing thirteenth overall in the race and also netting that superb Lombardia result, Martin has capped off the best season of his career in style. The 25 year old continues to progress year on year and showed this season that he is one of the most promising riders of the new generation.

In addition to those results, Martin shone in a number of other events. He took the Giro della Toscana, grabbed a stage and finished second overall in the Tour of Poland, was third overall in the Volta a Catalunya, third in the Memorial Marco Pantani and fourteenth in the Tour of California. His year-long consistency earned him a fine ninth in the final WorldTour rankings, the best Irish performance since that competition began. That all bodes well for the future, and suggests that Garmin-Cervélo has came out trumps in its signing and development of the rider.

Consistent progression points to big future:

Dan MartinIn assessing the season, Martin discussed his own particular highlights. In fact, the singular highlight would be more accurate than talking about the plural. Rather than naming a specific event, he takes a more general view as to what gave him satisfaction.

“I have shown a lot more consistency, and I think that has really reflected in my top ten in the WorldTour ranking,” he explained. “But to miss out on winning a ProTour race, with two seconds and a third [is hard]…

“Okay, with a stage win [in the Vuelta], I did theoretically win one. But to miss out on a ProTour win…that is something I would like to change next year.”

The closest of those near-misses came in the Tour of Poland, a race he won in 2010. He won a stage this time round and finished up second to Peter Sagan, wearing the jersey going into the final stage but eventually finishing six seconds behind due to the sprint bonuses gained by his rival.

He’d be forgiven for being frustrated at that, particularly as without the those bonuses in the event he would have been the clear overall winner. Yet his analysis of that event shows once again that he sees everything in perspective. Martin is in his mid-twenties, but has a balanced view that would be more expected in someone ten years older.

“I think it is important to keep it in context,” he explained, talking about his approach to the sport. “At the end of the day, I always say it is only a bike race. I will be happy as long as I do my best. I count myself very lucky to be able to contend in these races now. With what happened to Wouter [Weylandt] this year, you can see that life is very short…to be stressing going into these races [is not necessary].

“I have had a lot of pressure from a young age, as regards my family background and people always looking out for me. I grew up with this pressure…I think this pressure comes from other people thinking you are good enough to win.

“But If they think that, then why shouldn’t I believe it?”

Grand Tour potential:

The 2011 Vuelta was the first time that Martin figured highly in the general classification of a Grand Tour. His three week debut was made in the 2009 Vuelta a España where he finished 53rd overall. He was then 57th in last year’s Giro d’Italia, although his chances there were hampered at points due to the pollen allergy he often experiences in the first half of the season.

This year’s Vuelta result proves that he can be consistent enough over the duration of a three week race to fight for the overall classification. He’s pleased with that, although he plays down the notion that it has transformed him mentally.

“I was never really lacking confidence…I had never tried to ride general in a Grand Tour before,” he said. “I had always just gone looking for stages. I was always riding for the team, riding for someone else, or losing time on purpose to try to go in the breakaways and win.

“This year, it was really important for me to try to ride every day as hard as I could and test myself and see if it is possible for the future. I think we saw that. I had a really bad time trial but if we take that away, I would have been well inside the top ten on GC. That is really promising for the future as it is something we can work on and change…I think it is a lot easier to turn a climber into a strong time trialist rather than the other way around.”

Click below to view part I of this two-part video interview, where a relaxed Martin gives frank and detailed thoughts on these and other topics. Part II can be viewed here.


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