Martin gets season underway today in Tour of the Mediterranean
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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Martin gets season underway today in Tour of the Mediterranean

by Conal Andrews at 5:05 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 

Talented Irish climber Dan Martin will get his season underway today in the Tour of the Mediterranean, riding his first race since finishing eighth in the Giro di Lombardia last Autumn.

The 23 year old is not on the official start list but this is an administrative error on the part of the organisers: “I'm here, together with a gale force wind and a few flurries of snow. Nice,” he confirmed to VeloNation this morning.

Martin finished third in last year’s race, ending up 52 seconds behind the overall victor Luis Leon Sanchez (Caisse d’Epargne) and 28 behind runner-up Jussi Veikkanen (Française des Jeux). It was a storming ride by a second-year professional, and the Garmin rider then followed that up later in the season with second overall in the Volta a Catalunya, fifth in the GP Ouest France and eighth in Lombardy.

In a recent interview with Velonation, he said that he felt he was in good shape prior to the season, but wouldn’t be sure until he had lined out in competition. Today’s opening stage will give him the first real chance to evaluate his form.

“I have kind of changed things in that I didn’t really think about [structured] training or anything. I just chilled out and did what I felt like. I really relaxed, because I felt that I had a hell of a lot of fitness left over from the season,” he said about his winter training.

“What is nice is that I am not chasing any fitness. I have just sat on it and maintained it. I feel really good. Obviously training and racing are different kettles of fish, so I won’t know until my first races. But as far as I know, I feel good.”

Martin’s goals for the season are to ride well in the Ardennes Classics (specifically Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, as he has decided not to ride the Amstel Gold race), and then to show form in the Dauphiné Libéré and get selected for his first Tour de France. He was due to ride last year but had to withdraw from the team in the run-up to the start due to knee tendonitis.

He is tipped by Garmin Transitions manager Jonathan Vaughters as being one of the future greats of the sport, although Vaughters says it is too soon to know if he will be a Grand Tour rider or one who fares better in shorter races.

Also taking part in the Tour of the Mediterranean is Martin’s first cousin, Nicolas Roche. He showed promising form in last week’s Etoile de Besseges and has said that he is aiming to test his form on two days of the current race. He will try for a high finish on the stage to Biot, close to where he spent many years growing up, and on Mont Faron.

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