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"I'm here to give Andrew a hand, he's really motivated for this race. It'll be interesting to see how he goes and it’s nice for me to go into a race without much pressure or even personal expectation - it’s real...

Photo: Sirotti








12.03.2014 @ 09:31 Posted by Aleksandra Górska

While a rapidly growing trend in professional cycling sees grand tour contenders hitting their top disposition earlier every next season, Dan Martin’s seemingly old-fashioned approach remains in entire opposition to such tendencies. The Tirreno-Adriatico will be a first event of 2014 for the Garmin-Sharp’s Irishman and even though he has expressed some degree of uncertainty about his current form, he firmly disagrees to call such start to the season a late one.


"Everybody keeps saying that, but I think it's just that everybody else has started so early," Martin told Cyclingnews.


While most of his main rivals have started their 2014 campaigns under the summer sky of the Southern Hemisphere in middle January and continued by racing in the perfect weather conditions in the Middle east, Martin deliberately opted for a very different racing program pointing out that his major goals are later in the year. The Irishman can be confident about his schedule as he successfully followed a similar one last year – even though he had been set to participate in the Tour Mediterraneen the whole team was forced to withdraw following their bikes’ theft and as a result he had only one day of racing in legs while heading to Tirreno-Adriatico.


"With the bikes being stolen last year, I only did one day at the Tour of the Med so there's not a big difference. And last year I ended up getting sick afterwards, too, so I was eight days off the bike. This year I've probably had a better run-in to the race."


Martin was pleased with a preparation period he has undergone during the winter-break spent in Spain, disrupted only by a short virus infection. Not having raced so far in the season, however, he remains uncertain about his current disposition and thus is pleased to ride in the support of Andrew Talansky in the Race of the Two Seas, without a particular pressure concerning a high result in overall classification of the event.


"I was still riding but I couldn't train hard for a week or so," he said.


"But I'm feeling good now."


"It's an unknown as to what my form is, especially seeing as everyone else has already raced, but my goals are later in the year," said Martin.


"I'm here to give Andrew a hand, he's really motivated for this race. It'll be interesting to see how he goes and it’s nice for me to go into a race without much pressure or even personal expectation – it’s really a wait and see kind of attitude."


If not a clear favorite for the GC, following a slightly different racing schedule Martin certainly would be expected to animate happenings during the Tirreno’s mountain stages as he is perfectly suited to excel on the steep slopes of the cruel Muro di Guardiagrele. Nonetheless, he admitted that regarding his disposition he hasn’t studied this year’s parcours very attentively yet but expects no great surprises.


"But Tirreno follows a typical profile every year: It's a nice race with something for everybody, and that’s why there are so many good riders here," he said.


Politely as always, he didn’t add the other reason concerning parcours of the other World Tour event held this season offering less of the excitement.


Following the Tirreno-Adriatico the Garmin-Sharp rider plans to participate in the Volta a Catalunya, but despite the race being held in a very familiar surroundings, Martin doesn’t expect himself to hit the top disposition for the title defense. The Ardennes classics, in which he shined last year and the Giro d’Italia will be his first serious objectives of 2014 season.


"Still, I'm never going to turn down results; if my form is good, I'll go out there to win, and in the modern day of cycling, you can't really predict your form as much," Martin said.


"It's always an important race for me, living in Catalonia, but it's true that my sights are set on the Giro so that could mean that my form's not as good there this year, and I won't be worried if that’s the case."


Praised for his unquestionable potential and considered as a serious grand tour contender-to be, so far Martin didn’t quite live up to those expectations with 13th place taken in the 2011 edition of the Vuelta a Espana being his best record in three week races. In most of his grand tour appearances, the Irish rider usually lacked necessary consistence and suffered from minor illnesses which effectively thrown him out of contention. Thus, the Garmin-Sharp’s leader for the Giro d’Italia aims to apply a “day by day” approach during his campaign in the Italian grand tour, concentrating more on the nearest happenings than on a picture of a high finish on the ultimate day.


"I still haven't had a good result in the general classification in a Grand Tour, it's something that’s missing and I'm definitely thinking about that," he said. "But a lot can happen in 21 days and I think you do have to take it day by day: if you think too much about the end goal, you miss out on opportunities along the way. I'll be hoping to have the legs to race aggressively."


"The initial goal will be to spend three weeks on the road without getting sick and if I can manage that and stay out of trouble for three weeks, then I think I should be near the front of the GC," he said.


Concluding the interview, Martin expressed his excitement about the Irish start of the 2014 Giro d’Italia edition.


"I was in Dublin recently and I had a bit of a wander on the finish line where that stage 3 will be," he said.


"That was the first time I realised it was really going to happen: I got goose bumps standing there and it was quite strange, but it’s not going to hit home properly until we're on the start line in Belfast."



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