Dan Martin below par due to head cold, hoping for better form ahead
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Monday, July 9, 2012

Dan Martin below par due to head cold, hoping for better form ahead

by Shane Stokes at 6:05 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Injury
Irishman undecided about how to approach today’s time trial

Dan MartinDan Martin had hoped to challenge for the stage win on Saturday’s leg to La Planche des Belles Filles, but has had to postpone his ambitions until later on the race due to illness. The Garmin-Sharp climber was below par over the weekend and didn’t perform as he or his team had expected.

“I have been suffering with a head cold for the past two or three days,” he told VeloNation yesterday. “My sinuses are really blocked and while I don’t feel bad off the bike, I’m lacking something in the race.”

Martin was out of the GC hunt as a result of waiting for team-mates in a crash-strewn first week. However he wasn’t targeting the overall classification anyway, starting the race as backup for Ryder Hesjedal, Christian Vande Velde and Tom Danielson, and having the role of stage hunter rather that protected GC rider.

As a result of that, he said yesterday evening that he was considering holding back in today’s time trial. “We will see how I wake up in the morning and how the legs feel when I get on the bike,” he said. “If I feel good, I’ll go for it. There are not many chances to do a time trial of this length and it would be good for experience.

“If not, I’ll just ride through it. That would give me two days to recover, including the rest day.”

Garmin-Sharp had a very unlucky day on Friday with a massive crash essentially wiping out the team’s GC chances. Ryder Hesjedal fell heavily and had to pull out of the race the next morning; Tom Danielson, who was already carrying a bad shoulder injury, had to pull out right away, while Christian Vande Velde incurred further time losses that ruled out any chance of repeating his top ten finishes of the past.

Martin tried to give the team a boost on Saturday on the final climb. However, in addition to being blocked up with the head cold, he said he also made two errors. “It’s my first Tour and I’m still learning,” he said. “I threw my bottle away too early and I could have done with another drink. I was also sitting too far forward – the guys were riding to put me in a good position, but I was taking too much wind before that last climb.”

While the climb didn’t work out for him, the Irishman placing 17th, his potential is not in question. He won a stage and finished thirteenth overall in last year’s Vuelta, and also took second in the Giro di Lombardia. He also has a collection of other strong results in recent years. Providing he can get over the slight setback in his health, he could yet be a force in the remaining two weeks of the race.

“The aim is to be in good shape by the Alps or the Pyrenees,” he said. “If I can do that, then it’s possible to do something there.”


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