Dan Martin Video Interview Part II: Grand Tour podium finish a realistic target
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Monday, October 31, 2011

Dan Martin Video Interview Part II: Grand Tour podium finish a realistic target

by Shane Stokes at 6:33 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews, Tour de France, Olympics, Video
Irish pro on his mental approach, winning attitude and more

Dan MartinThirteenth overall in this year’s Vuelta a España and showing continuous improvement year on year as a professional, Daniel Martin believes that he has the potential to finish in the top three of one of cycling’s three week events.

The Irish Garmin-Cervélo pro was speaking to VeloNation during a lengthy video interview recorded recently in the Dublin suburb of Dundrum, where his grandparents live and where Martin stays when he briefly returns to Ireland each year. He said that he believes it could take a couple more years before he is fully ready to really ride general classification, but that he believes a bright future could lie ahead.

“I think the podium in a Grand Tour is definitely within reach, when you consider how it was on the climbs in the Vuelta this year, and how close the race is getting as well,” he said. “A race like the Vuelta with time bonuses…I can make a big different in that with my sprint.”

Martin said that while the mountainous nature of the Giro d’Italia probably suits his characteristics best of all, that the pollen allergies he traditionally suffers at that time of the year will most likely always make a May race difficult for him.

As a result, the Tour de France and Vuelta a España are his best bets to chase stage wins plus a high overall finish, although his prospects will depend on what kind of route features each year. For example, the high number of time trial kilometres in next year’s Tour de France will not play to his strengths, even if he does hope to improve his abilities against the clock next year.

However as much as Martin is strong on self-belief, he is also someone who has a fair degree of patience. He believes in letting himself develop at the correct pace and therefore doesn’t believe in putting major pressure on himself to achieve specific goals by specific times.

“I don’t really think about the future too much, it is more the case of going into every race and trying to do my best,” he explained. “The Vuelta this year definitely proved that I can race well over three weeks…that is something I will aim to build on year on year, and hopefully I will continue to get stronger and continue to improve, looking for strong results in the future.” Martin spoke extensively about this year’s Vuelta a España in part I of the interview, published yesterday. He rode that race instead of the Tour de France, having being passed over yet again for selection in the latter. At the time he was frustrated not to be picked by Garmin-Cervélo’s team management but now, looking back, that disappointment is counterbalanced by the realisation that the nine riders who went to France had a very successful performance.

They picked up four stage wins in all, including the team time trial, also placed a rider inside the top ten [Tom Danielson –ed.] and won the team general classification. And so, when asked if it was very frustrating not to ride, he has a balanced response.

“It was and it wasn’t,” he said. “Again, it’s the philosophical attitude because I know there is always a plan…I’ve always said that I don’t want to go to the Tour de France just to ride the Tour de France. I would have been going to the Tour this year to try and help the guys ride GC. And with the way the first week panned out with all the crashes, I was kind of happy not to be there in the end.

Dan Martin“Obviously I am going to ride the Tour one day…whether it is next year or the year after, we haven’t decided yet. But it is nice to be able to go to races and think of getting results.

“Watching the Tour this year, watching the guys in the team time trial, I think Jonathan’s choice was validated when the guys won the team time trial. That was massive for Garmin. Although it was really hard for me to watch the guys on the podium and see them celebrating, to be part of the team and see that happen…well, I definitely had a smile on my face at home.”

If Martin has been taking things gradually and not been put under too much pressure, his first cousin Nicolas Roche (Ag2r La Mondiale) has had to shoulder the responsibility of being team leader at the Ag2r La Mondiale team. As Roche told VeloNation last week in a wide-ranging video interview, he felt that his season was complicated by several crashes at crucial moments. He was trying to perform to the full extent of his abilities but was seldom able to first on all cylinders.

Because of that, Martin was delighted when Roche won the third stage of the Tour of Beijing, netting the first WorldTour victory of his career. He believes that more results like that should follow. “I knew he just needed one win. It makes such a difference to break that duck, just to have that confidence as well,” he said.

Martin compared Roche’s situation to the way that he has developed. “Something I definitely benefited from was staying an extra years as an amateur to continue that winning mentality, to learn how to win races. In my last year as an amateur I won seven or eight races and I was able to continue winning immediately in the pros. To keep that mentality was really important, I think…”

Click below to view the compete second part of this interview, which discusses these topics as well as a number of other subjects. Relaxed and open, Martin talks about the effect that the success of one Irishman has on another, the future for cycling in that country, his ambitions for the London Olympic road race, his plans for the off season and his approach to 2012.

Also see: part I of this interview, which deals with Martin’s superb stage win in the Vuelta a España, his runner-up slot in the Giro di Lombardia, his overall view of the 2011 season and much more…



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