Garmin's Dan Martin optimistic for Liège-Bastogne-Liège
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Friday, April 23, 2010

Garmin's Dan Martin optimistic for Liège-Bastogne-Liège

by VeloNation Press at 9:08 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Liège-Bastogne-Liège
 

Having taken eighteenth place in Flèche Wallonne despite feeling the effects of allergies, Irish professional Daniel Martin is psyched to ride strongly in this Sunday’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège. The 23 year old Garmin Transitions rider told VeloNation that he was looking forward to seeing what he can do in La Doyenne, where he will be one of the leaders of the team.

“I definitely have got some good form in me due to the strength I have got from all the weeks of hard training,” he said. “I am hoping for a really, really hard race on Sunday and hopefully the action will be at the back [in terms of whittling down the field due to high speeds] rather than at the front…that would suit both myself and Ryder [Hesjedal].”

Prior to the start of Flèche Wallonne, Martin told VeloNation that he was a little concerned that his springtime allergies might interfere with his race, much as happened to Alberto Contador in the Tour of the Mediterranean. This turned out to be the case, but he had good sensations nonetheless.

“The race was kind of strange. I felt a bit flat at the start and my breathing definitely wasn’t up to scratch, but my legs were unbelievable,” he said. “I had really, really good legs and I was super strong. I just don’t quite have that top-end yet, whether it is from training or allergies. I mean that real, real top end, being able to dig really deep and falling off the bike at the end. I just finished, I couldn’t go to my max.

“It was a really strange feeling. But hopefully everything will go my way for Sunday, as I definitely have the form to be in the front. Obviously top 20 in Flèche is in the front of the race.”

The concluding ascent of the Mur de Huy is one of the hardest climbs in cycling, both in terms of the actual severity of the slopes, but also because of the need to judge timing absolutely perfectly.

Cadel Evans had got this wrong in the past two years but worked out the right way to approach the hill on Wednesday. This saw him overtake Alberto Contador (Astana) within the last 50 metres of the race, scooping his first victory since last year’s worlds.

It took Evans several attempts in recent years to get things right; Martin also underlined that there is a learning process involved, and feels that he has a better understanding of things after the race.

“It was my first time ever riding in the final of Flèche Wallonne, so it is great to see how things happen on the last climb,” he said. “There were a few things that I messed up a bit as well. I relaxed a bit at the bottom of the climb and it was too short to do that. You have got to be really aggressive at the bottom and I know that now, so that is a good experience for the next few years. I really love the race, and I have a few more chances to do something in it.”

Martin is now looking towards Sunday, and believes that his breathing might be better by then. “I have got an inhaler now from the doctor, which will supposedly do me some good. I got it yesterday, it is supposed to take five or six days to work, but hopefully it will help.

“Last year I was fine, but I think it is that the bad weather this winter has delayed the release of the pollen. Hopefully it will all click into place on Sunday. Even if it my breathing is still a bit off, Liège is a longer race so you don’t really have to go max heart-rate. It is more of an endurance thing.”

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