Daniel Martin in encouraging form ahead of Liège-Bastogne-Liège
Rider draws strength from fourth place in Flèche Wallone
Ireland's Daniel Martin
After picking up a strong fourth place in Wednesday’s Flèche Wallonne, Daniel Martin has said that he has drawn considerable encouragement from the result and is increasingly motivated for Sunday’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège Classic.
Martin’s performance this week came despite a puncture 21 kilometres from the finish. The enforced stop meant that he had a long chase back to the front, needing to first catch the peloton and then make his way back up to the head of affairs prior to the crucial final ascent of the wall-like Mur de Huy.
That case undoubtedly cost him some energy, but Martin was nevertheless able to finish very strongly on the climb and just missing out on third place by a couple of inches.
Last year he was sixth in Flèche Wallonne and then fifth in Liège. Everything points to a good performance on Sunday, with the form he showed on Wednesday illustrating he could fight for the win.
“I’m a year fitter and stronger so who knows what can happen?” he said about the upcoming Classic, which was won in the past by Seán Kelly in 1984 and 1989. “The whole team is going well and this [his Flèche Wallonne result] is a big confidence boost.
“I believed I could do well, and the boys rode impeccably so we’ll enjoy the result and then start looking forward to the next big one.”
Meanwhile two more overseas teams have been confirmed for the An Post Rás, which will begin in Dunboyne next month. John Herety has guided several riders to overall victory in the event and he will return with his Rapha Condor JLT squad once again.
Five man team
Richard Handley finished fifth overall last year and was winner of the Under-23 classification. He will be part of the five man team. “We will target stages to start with, and then look at the general classification after four days of racing,” said Herety. Current British under-23 champion Mike Cuming will be part of the team, as well as promising Irishman Aaron Buggle.
Also making the trip will be the Great Britain development squad, which includes world points race champion and Tour de l’Avenir stage winner Simon Yates. The Beijing World Cup 2011 Omnium track race winner Sam Harrison will also be part of the lineup.