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"I got closer and closer and I thought I had him for about two seconds. Just as I was about to reach him he kicked and I just died, I couldn’t pedal any more. I only just about made it to the finish line," Martin tells Cycli...

Photo: Sirotti






14.10.2013 @ 16:40 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Daniel Martin (Garmin-Sharp) was the big pre-race favourite in this year's Tour of Beijing but he had to settle for 2nd behind Benat Intxausti (Movistar) in today's queen stage. The Irishman admits that he died in his attempt to catch the lone Spaniard and now hopes to seal his runner-up position in tomorrow's flat stage


A strong showing in Il Lombardia has put Daniel Martin in the spotlight as the favourite to win this year's Tour of Beijing. After today's queen stage, the Irishman must, however, be content with the 2nd place that he currently occupies.


Martin was left without teammates on the final climb and so could not control the repeated attacks that were launched in the hectic finale. Benat Intxausti got away with 2km to go and quickly opened up a big gap.


Martin proved his strength when he left everybody else behind him in one final quest to reel in the lone Spaniard and he appeared to be getting across to the Movistar rider. However, Intxausti had saved enough for one final acceleration and just as Martin was about to catch his rival, he shook his head and gave up.


“I tried to stay as calm as possible, but Beñat got a bit too much of a gap," he told Cyclingnews at the finish. "I got closer and closer and I thought I had him for about two seconds. Just as I was about to reach him he kicked and I just died, I couldn’t pedal any more. I only just about made it to the finish line.”


The final climb wasn't very steep and didn't suit a pure climber like Martin.


“It was pretty much the big chain ring the whole way and the small chain ring in places, but it was so fast,” he explained.


With only a flat stage in Beijing remaining, Martin is likely to finish the race as runner-up. Despite the near-miss, he is happy with the result.


“We’ll try to keep the place in the GC and if we can hold onto that then it would be a nice way to end the year,” he said.


The result comes at the end of a fabulous season for Martin who won the Volta a Catalunya, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and a stage in the Tour de France earlier this year. If he holds onto his second place, he will finish 6th in the WorldTour rankings.


This year Martin focused on the Tour de France but next year he will have a different race programme. The Giro d'Italia starts in Belfast and stays in Northern Ireland and Ireland for 3 stages and so Martin is keen to target the Italian race.


Despite the presence of former winner Ryder Hesjedal on the Garmin team, he has been given the undisputed captaincy role in the three-week race.


“I’m definitely going to be going there and I’ll be going with ambition and I’ll be team leader,” he told Cyclingnews. “I’m not going into it saying I’m definitely riding GC. I never want to go into a race and say I want to be on the podium, because that distracts from the short game. I’ll be taking it day by day, the same as at the Tour. I’ll be trying to win stages and then we’ll look at where we’re at in the final week.”


The race kicks off with a team time trial in Belfast and being part of a strong Garmin team, Martin could get the chance to wear the coveted maglia rosa on home soil.



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