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“Benat was able to get away because you had three or four good riders from Movistar attack. Now that we’ve got Ryder and me, there’s two guys to go for it and hopefully we’re in a much stronger position,” Marti...

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DANIEL MARTIN

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EF PRO CYCLING

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LACHLAN MORTON

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NATHAN HAAS

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PHILLIP GAIMON

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RYDER HESJEDAL

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STEELE VON HOFF

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THOMAS DEKKER

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TOUR OF BEIJING

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TYLER FARRAR

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09.10.2014 @ 14:29 Posted by Aleksandra Górska

With less than 24 hours before the fourth and final edition of the Tour of Beijing, it’s been a challenging few days for Garmin-Sharp but one of the pre-race favourites, Dan Martin, is taking it all in his stride.

 

The Irishman has arrived with reinforcements in a bid to improve on his runner-up finish in 2013. Martin is joined in the Garmin-Sharp squad by former Giro d’Italia winner Ryder Hesjedal, mountain-men Lachlan Morton and Phil Gaimon, grand tour stage winner Tyler Farrar, former Herald Sun Tour winner Nathan Haas and a focused Steele Von Hoff.

 

The 2014 Tour of Beijing will close out the UCI WorldTour over five stages and begins Friday, October 10 in the city of Chongli, the winter sports playground to the north of the Chinese capital.

 

Garmin-Sharp’s bikes and equipment along with those of three other teams were delayed through Chinese customs upon the team’s arrival in Beijing, rendering the squad unable to train until Thursday morning.

 

Martin, who added to his tally of cycling’s Monuments with victory in Il Lombardia on Sunday, admitted it had been a frustrating few days.

 

“There’s always the challenge of having the time difference and the different nutritional conditions out here, but we’re not the only team that hasn’t had bikes for two days so it’s just not ideal,” Martin said.

 

“It’s going to be interesting getting on the bike today but hopefully the race won’t be too hard tomorrow and we can get through it.”

 

Martin, along with defending champion Benat Intxausti (Movistar) share favouritism heading into this year’s edition of the Tour of Beijing, in what is a stacked field of possible contenders. The Garmin-Sharp leader believes that 2013’s experience on the decisive Queen stage was somewhat of a learning curve, leading to a bolstered squad in Beijing this time around.

 

“The guys did their best for me but I was isolated with 10km to go on the climb,” Martin explained.

 

“Benat was able to get away because you had three or four good riders from Movistar attack. Now that we’ve got Ryder and me, there’s two guys to go for it and hopefully we’re in a much stronger position.”

 

The fourth stage, featuring the mountain-top finish to Mentougou Miaofeng Mountain returns in 2014 but has an additional Cat. 2 climb with just over 35km remaining in the 157km stage.

 

It’s not only the Tour of Beijing’s penultimate stage which holds a lot of interest for Martin, with the 176km third stage once again featuring the unique Panda of the Mountain (POM) prime for the first rider to reach the designated Panda summit, where local cycling fans will assemble.

 

Martin and the panda have become synonymous after he was chased by a spectator wearing a panda suit while en-route to his historic victory in Liege-Bastogne-Liege in 2013.

 

Martin and Garmin have since partnered with the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) with the panda taking on the role of the team’s spirit animal.

 

“We’ve got a bit of a surprise this week as well but it’s a bit of fun,” he said. “It’s something that I took on last year at the race because I think pro cycling has become so serious now, it’s nice to have a bit of a light-hearted approach to it. If it helps endear the race to the locals as well, it’s nice.”

 

The finale edition of the Tour of Beijing begins tomorrow and will conclude on Tuesday 14th of October as the concluding event on the UCI WorldTour calendar.

 

The five day, 764.5 kilometre route provides for opportunistic racing and takes in breathtaking views of the Great Wall, Beijing’s mountain terrain and embraces key tourism attractions such as Tiananmen Square and the Bird’s Nest.

 

 

The complete Garmin-Sharp roster for the 2014 Tour of Beijing consists of:

Daniel Martin, Ryder Hesjedal, Lachlan Morton, Phil Gaimon, Nathan Haas, Thomas Dekker, Tyler Farrar and Steele Von Hoff

 

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