Dan Martin Interview: Irishman reflects on ProTour glory in Tour of Poland
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Monday, August 09, 2010

Dan Martin Interview: Irishman reflects on ProTour glory in Tour of Poland

by VeloNation Press at 5:40 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour of Poland
 
Takes biggest career success, lays out remaining season targets

Dan MartinOn Saturday the Garmin Transitions rider Daniel Martin made history when he became the first Irish rider to win a ProTour stage race since the series was introduced in 2005. He was also the first rider from the Garmin squad to achieve the same feat, showing that things had turned around for the team after a Tour de France campaign frustrated by injuries.

The 23 year old grabbed the yellow jersey when he won last Thursday’s mountain stage, then successfully defended his yellow jersey over the two remaining stages. He finished seventh on Friday and then rolled home safely in the main bunch on Saturday, thus concluding the week-long event eight seconds clear of nearest rival Grega Bole (Lampre-Farnese Vini) and ten seconds ahead of Bauke Mollema (Rabobank).

The strong climber highlighted his potential in the mountains when he won the Route du Sud in 2008, his first year as a pro. Last year saw other good showings such as second overall in the Volta a Catalunya, fifth in the GP Ouest France in Plouet and eighth in the Tour of Lombardy Classic.

Martin spoke to VeloNation on Sunday, giving his reaction to what was a very impressive win, looking back at the allergy issues that complicated his Giro d’Italia campaign and listing his goals for the remainder of the 2010 season.

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VeloNation: First off Dan, you’ve got a bit of a dilemma. You’ve just won a car at the Tour of Poland, but live over 2,000 kilometres away in Girona, Spain. What are you going to do?

Dan Martin: Fortunately you have a choice about taking the car, or getting money…so I’ll go for the cash. It’s a bit more straightforward than having to drive a Polish-registered car such a long distance! It’s also easier to split amongst the team…

VN: Is this the first ProTour stage race victory for Garmin?

DM: Yes, it is the first ProTour stage win for the team. Tyler won Hamburg last year and held the jersey in the Eneco Tour, but this is the first overall win in a stage race.

Obviously it is massive for the team, especially at the time it has it has come. It just shows the strength in depth of the team. It is soon after the Tour de France, and then they send a bunch of young guys to a ProTour race. We ended up winning…it is great.

VN: It also shows you have recovered well from the Giro d'Italia – this result plus your ride in the Brixia Tour show that things are good for the second half of the season...

DM: Yes, hopefully. It is nice to be feeling my potential again. All year I was convinced that I was suffering with allergies and couldn’t hit that top form…that happened for whatever reason, we don’t know why. But now I have proved to myself that there was something limiting my performances because I have suddenly got an extra gear from somewhere. It is great to get it down on paper that I can actually compete at that level.

Dan MartinI knew I could do it last year, but it wasn’t quite there this year. It was knocking my confidence. This is the first time I have actually put my arms in the air in a professional race in Europe. I won the Irish nationals and took the Route du Sud, but I didn’t win a stage. So to actually win a European pro race is great. It is really good for the confidence and it can only get better from here, I think.

VN: You did the Giro d'Italia earlier this year but didn’t reach your best form there, apart from riding well on a couple of the tougher mountain stages. Do you think the issue in the race was the allergies you had said you were suffering from beforehand?

DM: Maybe it was a virus or allergies or whatever. We will try to find a solution this winter, and we will try to come out fighting in March and April. We’ll try to get the same form I have got now for that time of year.

Maybe it doesn’t happen for me at that time of the year, but we will just do everything possible to try to get it there.

It was kind of strange as some times in the Giro I felt really great, and other days I felt like the same as I had felt in March and April – I didn’t feel that I could actually go.

But this [the Tour de Pologne win] is exciting, to see the improvement I have made.

VN: Is this the best form of your career thus far?

DM: It is hard to say. You can’t really compare. I’m just really happy with how I was feeling in Poland. It was the way we played it tactically as well. In my career I have lost a lot of races by being hot headed at finishes and attacking too early. That is what happened to me in the Brixia Tour. I attacked too early, attacked too hard and ended up blowing up.

To be in such an important race and to play it coolly was great. I have got to say a big thanks to the experience of Murilo Fischer and Matt Wilson, as they kept me level-headed the whole way. I could trust them to control the race for me and that left me just to relax. Less mental stress is obviously less energy being used. That definitely paid off in the final of the two stages that I was in yellow.

VN: What do you do for the next few weeks?

DM: I don’t know yet. I am going to start thinking about it tomorrow. I will talk to Whitey [Matt White] and we will start discussing where we will be going from here.

I was literally 100 percent focussed on Poland. It is nice to get it out of the way and come out of it with a win.

VN: Do you think there is a possibility that the team will get you to ride the Vuelta a España?

DM: I don’t think I want to, to be honest. I am on top form now. I peaked for this race…the Vuelta is still three weeks away and the end of the Vuelta is six weeks away. It would be very difficult to hold this form from now until then.

I had a really heavy year already, as far as racing goes. It has given me the form to be able to do what I did in this race, but I am just going to try to enjoy the moment now and try to drag the enjoyment out as long as possible and see what we are doing next week.

Dan MartinVN: How far away is Plouay?

DM: Two weeks. Two weeks today.

VN: You were fifth there last year. Can you hang onto your form for that?

DM: Yes, for sure. It is a race I really enjoy and one which is perfectly suited to me, other than the fact that the finish is three kilometres after the top of the climb. That would have been perfect. But I did a good performance there last year, so we will try to replicate that.

Every year is different and the team is obviously coming on in leaps and bounds every year. The young guys who are progressing are getting stronger, so we will see what happens this year as far as chosing the team and what the tactics are.

VN: So I guess Plouay and the Giro di Lombaria are the two you would like to do well in? You were eighth in Italy last autumn, so that course is also good for your characteristics...

DM: Yes, they are two of my favourite races of the year. I just want to go and have fun...when I have fun I generally do well. They are both beautiful races. Obviously it is easy to go to Lombardia with motivation after what happened last year. Then again, there is a different course this year, so I need to have a look at that. I don’t have any idea what it is like so we will see what that brings. Again, we will just do our best.

It will be an interesting end to the year. I am on such a high as regards confidence now, so to go to those races with that boost is going to be good. And the team as well – the team is gathering momentum already. Svein [Tuft] won the other day as well [the time trial in the Tour of Dennmark.] Hopefully we can carry that into Hamburg and the Eneco Tour next week.

Generally it is quite funny – August seems to be a good month for this team. Last year was special, and hopefully we can do the same again. It would be great.

VN: And I guess this makes up for what was quite a tough Tour in terms of injuries...

DM: I think we had a lot of bad luck at the Tour, so we deserve the good luck we had in Poland with the weather. I had a couple of mechanical issues but they were earlier in the stage and not at a critical point. That is that bit of luck you need to win bike races.

It is not all about being the strongest; a lot of times, it is also about being lucky as well.
 

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