Dan Martin working hard in advance of Il Lombardia and Tour of Beijing
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Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Dan Martin working hard in advance of Il Lombardia and Tour of Beijing

by Shane Stokes at 7:19 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, World Championships, Tour of Beijing
 
“I need to try to finish the season on a high as the last few months have been hard”

Dan MartinHaving crashed out of the Vuelta a España and again going down and out of Sunday’s world road race championships, Dan Martin has said that he is determined to turn around his season and to try to finish on a high note.

Martin had some of the best results of his career this year, winning the Volta a Catalunya and Liège-Bastogne-Liège in April and then taking a mountain stage of the Tour de France in July.

However his crash and subsequent conclusion in the Vuelta a España put him out of that race and another fall frustrated his goal of being in the medal hunt in the worlds.

Martin rode Milan-Turin on Wednesday, finishing eleventh, and then did motorpacing behind the Garmin-Sharp team car afterwards, proclaiming himself ready for Il Lombardia at the weekend.

“I don’t stop racing,” he said, when asked by VeloNation this week if his season was nearly done. “After Milan-Torino, I do Lombardia, then I go straight to Beijing and then the Japan Cup. I’ll be away from home until the 25th of October.

“There are plenty of opportunities left. I have heard horror stories of guys who have been injured in the same crash as me at the worlds. I literally don’t have any issues at all. Onwards and upwards, and hopefully that is the end of the bad luck. I have had a pretty rough run in the last couple of months.”

Martin finished second in Lombardia in 2011 and if he is in top form at the weekend, could well challenge again for the win. However he said that things would have been more straightforward had Sunday’s race not been disrupted.

“It would have been good to get a long race in,” he said. “Still, I am going to try to stay optimistic. I need to try to finish the season on a high as the last few months have been hard. There’s three weeks until the end of the season and I’ll race hard until then.”

Beijing is also a target, especially after he rode well there last year. He was second on a stage, fourth overall and won the King of the Mountains prize.

Worlds misfortune:

Along with Nicolas Roche, Martin started Sunday’s elite road race championships at the head of the Irish team. Roche crashed out on the first lap and with Ireland’s other two riders Sam Bennett and Matt Brammeier waiting for him in an ultimately unsuccessful bid to get him back online, Martin was left as the sole competitor from the four man team.

“My legs were good, but the conditions were just crazy,” he told VeloNation afterwards. “I have never seen anything like it. The street lights were on in one town. I think the airport was closed all day as well because of the storms. It was just really, really terrible conditions.

“I didn’t find the roads so slippery. The problem was that coming into the little kick with three kilometres to go, the guy in front of me panicked when somebody crashed further down the road. He slammed on the brakes, hit the white line and went down.

“I was right on his wheel and had nowhere to go. I ran straight into him. I reckon I slid for 50 or 70 metres, sliding forever and ever. The things is, there was so much water on the ground that I don’t have a scratch on me.”

Although he was fine to continue, the time lost made it impossible to get back onto the peloton. “By the time I got up, I couldn’t find my bike. I had slid that far that my bike was twenty metres up the road.

I had to look for my bike – it was under four other riders’ bikes and a barrier had also toppled over onto my bike as well. It took me forever to get going again.

“If I had been able to get my bike straight away, get up and start going I could have got back. I actually almost returned. At the top of the climb I was just fifteen or twenty seconds off the back from the convoy. I chased really hard but couldn’t get closer than that.

“It was unfortunate…the legs were good. But others ended up worse off, so I’ve got to keep that in mind.”

Asked if he believes he would have been there with Rui Costa (Portugal), Joaquim Rodriguez and Alejandro Valverde (Spain) plus Vincenzo Nibali (Italy) at the end, he said that it’s too difficult to estimate what would have happened.

“I think it is impossible to say. The last time I raced 270 kilometres was Liege. It is hard to say how I would have been at the end of that, but I just know I was feeling pretty good at the time. The conditions obviously suited me as well as the way the race went, it just came down to one really explosive last time up the climb.

“There is frustration in not knowing what could have happened. Rui is a really strong rider. He won it well. I did feel sorry for Rodriguez taking another second place.”

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