Dan Martin pleased with Tour de France preparation, begins Tour de Suisse today
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Saturday, June 08, 2013

Dan Martin pleased with Tour de France preparation, begins Tour de Suisse today

by Shane Stokes at 6:53 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Tour de Suisse
 
Irishman ‘very relaxed’ going into Swiss race, but believes he can be competitive

Dan MartinContinuing his buildup to what he hopes will be a successful second Tour de France for him, Dan Martin has said that he believes he could ride well in the Tour de Suisse, but is also under no pressure to perform.

“It is a bike race, so of course I am going to give it my best shot,” he told VeloNation. “We have got a strong team, Ryder [Hesjedal] is back on form so that takes the pressure off a bit. I am sure the team will want one of us to be up there on the general. It might be time to pay him back a bit [for helping him earlier this year – ed.], but at the same time there are two time trials involved as well and I think we can both be up there on the GC.

“I am going into the week very, very relaxed. I don’t feel pressure to perform…the main goal is to stay safe and stay healthy, and to continue the build-up towards the Tour. I am pretty sure I have got good enough condition to be competitive this week, but I am not stressed if that doesn’t happen.”

Martin has had a very good season thus far, winning two WorldTour races. In March he triumphed in the Volta a Catalunya, beating 2012 WorldTour champion Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) by seventeen seconds and Michele Scarponi (Lampre Merida) by 34.

Then, after missing a place on the podium of Flèche Wallonne by a couple of inches, he beat Rodriguez and some of the world’s best riders in Liège-Bastogne-Liège. It was the first Irish victory since Sean Kelly in 1989 and underlined that Martin was now one of the world’s best one day riders. It also gave him a considerable confidence boost as he looks towards what will be his second Tour de France.

After taking a break, Martin has been working towards his big season goal. He’s pleased with how his training and racing has built up. “Things have been going more or less to plan. Bayern wasn’t ideal in the end as the weather was so cold there, so the main goal was to try to stay healthy and not get sick,” he said. “I had a little bit of a cold toward the end, that is why I didn’t start on the last day. I didn’t want to risk making it worse as it was one degree and pouring rain. The team allowed me not to start, to play it safe.”

After a couple of easier days to make sure that the symptoms of a cold faded, he headed to the Dolomites in Italy with team-mate Alex Rasmussen. “We were riding all the big climbs up there, and doing a bit of a Castelli photo shoot as well. It was an absolute blast,” he said. “We had a great fun week. The weather wasn’t ideal but we never actually got wet and cold, so that was perfect. It was just cloudy and a bit cool.”

Martin returned to his base in Girona and did some more work before heading off to the Tour de Suisse. It will be his last race before the Tour de France; he’d like to go well, but is a little uncertain about precisely where he is now. “I have no idea how my form is. I haven’t really tested myself in training or anything, but I was super strong in Bayern and I could do whatever I wanted,” he said. “It was definitely an important step towards the Tour.”

If things go well he’ll finish Suisse with some more results to his credit plus some confirmation that he is on track for a big Tour. He’ll then check out the route of the Tour de France’s second time trial, riding the course, before heading back to Girona where he and the Garmin-Sharp riders will have some structured training. This will include some important team time trial work, with the American squad determined to continue its strong showing in that kind of test.

“The first goal will be to recover from Suisse, then have a couple of hard training sessions,” Martin said. “I won’t be at the Irish nationals again this year. It is just unfortunate, the timing of the nationals, but the Tour is the priority this year. It has a course that suits me so that is a big objective”

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