Dan Martin looking to carry Lombardia form to the Tour of Beijing
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Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Dan Martin looking to carry Lombardia form to the Tour of Beijing

by Ben Atkins at 4:51 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour of Beijing
 
Irishman hoping to take the “opportunity” to meet a real panda after Liège final kilometre

dan martinDan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) is hoping to capitalise on the form he showed in Sunday’s il Lombardia, where he was almost able to follow the attack of eventual winner Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha) on the final steep climb. The Irishman - who beat Rodríguez in April’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège - was denied the opportunity to sprint for a Lombardia podium place by a crash in the wet final corners, but travels to China confident of being able to take a good result.

“It’s the end of the year – my legs are obviously pretty good,” Martin said after landing in Beijing today. “You can’t get fourth in Lombardia without being good. I’m not as fresh as I could be – that might play against me in a stage race but we’ll see.
 
“After the year I’ve had it really is a lot of fun now; there’s no pressure on us as a team and especially myself,” he continued. “We’ve got a strong team here.”

One of the most famous images of Martin this season came as he was making his winning move at the end of Liège-Bastogne-Liège, when a man in a panda suit ran behind him for several metres. The image has been adopted by Garmin-Sharp, with t-shirts featuring the image sold on the team’s website, but the trip to China could give the Irishman the chance to meet a real live panda in the flesh.

“I hope so,” he grinned. “Maybe I can meet one. This is an opportunity!”

Garmin-Sharp’s line up has been reduced to seven, with Australian climber Lachlan Morton having crashed in Lombardia and suffered a concussion, but the team’s other two Australian’s Steele Von Hoff and Nathan Haas will be hunting results, with Haas playing a supporting role to both Von Hoff and Martin.

“I think there’s some really good opportunities in a race like this for Steele,” admitted Haas.
 
“We’re a really motivated team in what can be known as an unmotivated time of year for a lot of guys. It’s a good opportunity to get some WorldTour points and also for Steele who has come frustratingly close to a few wins this season to hopefully get his confidence back to match with his skill level and ability and to come in hot next year.
 
“Tactics go out the window for the most part and certainly bike handling skills aren’t as important,” Haas added. “It’s just about a raw engine.
 
“We just have to be clever,” he continued. “We just have to stay motivated throughout the race and if we are having fun at this time of year and if we can keep our smiles we can continue that over some finish lines and hopefully win some stages.”

Garmin-Sharp team for the Tour of Beijing
Jack Bauer, Nathan Haas, Daniel Martin, Nick Nuyens, Jacob Rathe, Fabian Wegmann, Steele Von Hoff

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