Ambitious in outlook, aggressive in tactics
Dan Martin is leader of the Garmin-Sharp team for the Vuelta a Espana (Spanish Grand Tour) and will have the full backing of his team-mates
Garmin-Sharp team leader Dan Martin. ‘There’s 11 summit finishes in the race and that’s something that should be very good for me. I definitely think that I can take at least one stage.’
Stressing the importance of the World Championships and using the Vuelta a Espana as preparation for that, Dan Martin will nonetheless start the three-week race today ambitious in his outlook and aggressive in his tactics.
The Irishman is leader of the Garmin-Sharp team for the Spanish Grand Tour and will have the full backing of the team for the race. He’s looking forward to the chance of showing what he can do, not least because he won a mountain stage of the Tour de France in July and has increased confidence as a result.
“There’s 11 summit finishes in the race and that’s something that should be very good for me,” he said, referring to his ability as a climber. “I definitely think that I can take at least one stage.”
However, Martin also believes that it will take him a few days to get going, both due to the fact that he was ill at the end of the Tour de France and also because he has held back on training to ensure that he finishes the Vuelta strong and is thus in the best shape possible for the World Championships.
“I was really sick at the end of the Tour and it took me a bit longer than expected to get well,” he explained. “I had obviously dug a pretty deep hole to try to finish the Tour. I think it took me 10 or 12 days to actually stop coughing green stuff up and to feel healthy again.
“That was a bit hard mentally as that was my time off after the Tour, and then I had to start getting serious right away. However, I decided to hold back a bit; because I’ve been quite tired since the Tour and because I’m looking at being strong in the third week of this race and in the World Championships, I thought it would be best to just take it really easy and to come into the race fresh.
“So I have done a couple of blocks of hard days, but mostly endurance and not so much hard stuff. Obviously that means that my form is very much unknown as I come into this race. I don’t know where I am going to be in those first couple of days, but I’m quite confident that I am going to come good by the end of the Vuelta.”
Martin made an important breakthrough in the 2011 event, winning the mountain stage to La Covatilla en route to placing 13th overall. Both performances were important for the future direction of his career; the first proved that he could take stage victories in the biggest races while the second showed that he could be strong over three weeks.