Dan Martin ‘in survival mode,’ aiming simply to make it to Paris
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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Dan Martin ‘in survival mode,’ aiming simply to make it to Paris

by Shane Stokes at 9:40 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Injury
 
Garmin-Sharp rider remains pragmatic after becoming ill, says he knows he can ride strongly in future Tours

Dan MartinHe won a stage and was sitting in or just outside the top ten for much of the race, but Dan Martin’s goals have had to be downgraded since he became ill earlier this week at the Tour.

“It’s just survival,” he told VeloNation about today’s final mountain stage. “Maybe I will feel okay but the virus isn’t going to go away in time. It is a case of doing what we can to get there in the best shape possible, and hopefully I will be able to enjoy Paris.

“It is a really short stage which I think will be more difficult for me, in terms of the time cut. Obviously the speed of the race is going to be higher, so I just have to hold on as long as possible.

“One thing that is in my favour that it finishes up a mountain. I think I can ride a good tempo and if I am dropped by the sprinters, will get back to them. We will see.”

Martin won the ninth stage of the Tour, becoming the first Irishman in 21 years to take a stage in the sport’s biggest race. He hoped to again be a factor in the later mountains, but felt a little under strength last Sunday on Mont Ventoux.

At the time he put it down to an off day and hoped to bounce back in the Alps. Ending the day eleventh overall and moving up to tenth on the stage following after the rest day, he was then 32nd in Wednesday’s time trial. Martin had expected a lot more from the race against the clock as the course suited him far more than the earlier TT.

Things worsened overnight and he was dropped on the first ascent of Alpe d’Huez. Speaking afterwards, he was disappointed by the lost opportunity plus his tumble down the general classification, but also kept things in perspective.

“We think it is some kind of virus, but it is hard to know. It is just unfortunate. I won a stage here, though, so it is hard to be too let down. The GC is disappointing because if I was on good form still, it was almost a certainty that I would be in the top ten. But it is more the lost opportunity to race on climbs like Alpe d’Huez….I was looking forward to that.”

Dropped again yesterday, he refused to get too downbeat. “I just need to let this illness heal. The only way of doing that is by resting, and that is no possible in the situation I am in at the moment. So, the aim is to get through this stage and get to Paris, then get over whatever I’ve got.

“I know I can finish in top ten of the Tour de France now. At the end of the day, I was still in the top ten after my weakest stages. So if anything I would have moved up in these stages.

“It is great for the future and give me motivation. I will probably be at the Giro next year when it starts in Ireland, aiming to be right at the front of the race.”

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