Dan Martin Diary - Day 4: Disappointed at first we didn’t win time trial but happy with our consistency

With five of our Garmin-Sharp nine climbers, we did well to get so close


Stage four
Nice team time trial (25 km)

Sixth in the team time trial, 17 seconds behind the winning team; our initial reaction to yesterday’s team time trial was one of disappointment, as we went into it thinking we could win. Also, because it is normally a speciality of our Garmin-Sharp team.

But thinking about it, overall I feel we did a really consistent ride. Maybe we made a few errors in the fact that some of the guys were taking pulls that were maybe a bit too long going into the headwind, therefore perhaps losing a bit of speed that way. However, otherwise it was almost a perfect ride, technically.

That sounds peculiar as we didn’t win, but we just didn’t have the speed or the team to be able to challenge for the victory.

In hindsight, looking at it, we have to recognise that of the nine riders on the team, five are climbers. To be able to get as close as we did to the top teams in the results is a good ride, so in terms of that overall picture, I think it was a good day.

The best team was Orica GreenEdge, who won Sunday’s stage with Simon Gerrans and then put him into the yellow jersey when they won again in the team time trial.

Congratulations to them, because winning two days in a row is incredible. They rode really fast.

That said, they basically have a specialist team for this event, they don’t have a single climber in the team. So when the road goes uphill, we will definitely be more prominent than them in the front.

Yellow jersey
David Millar, one of our riders, had started the stage seventh overall. He was just one second behind the race leader Jan Bakelants of the RadioShack Leopard team, and would have moved into the yellow jersey if we had won.

It would have been fantastic to do that, and obviously we are gutted about missing it.

You are always going to feel that way if you wanted to win and to take the yellow jersey. But in the end, after it is all finished, I think we can be content.

We all did our best, so it is hard to be disappointed. It is not like anything went wrong.

As far as my own performance went, I was quite happy with how I was going. I felt good on the bike, it felt smooth sitting on the wheels of my team-mates.

Obviously my contribution was not as high as some others – the course didn’t really suit me as it was so flat. As a result I couldn’t make the contribution I wanted to, physically, but overall, I was happy with the sensations I had. It is also another day down, another day closer to the mountains.

My cousin Nicolas Roche was best placed of his team starting the race and so could have taken the yellow jersey if Team Saxo Tinkoff won. In the end they were fourth.

I didn’t get to speak to him at all – it was crazy at the start and finish, very busy. You don’t see anybody else apart from your own team.

I was also very focused before the start. We were all there, all in our own little zone, focusing on the drive to get the job done.

Great team spirit
We don’t really have nervousness about the physical effort that is coming. It is more being worried about letting each other down, about having a mechanical problem, or about making a mistake in the corner and crashing everybody. Garmin-Sharp have a great team spirit and we all really want to do the best for our team-mates.

Next up is a 228.5km stage from Cagnes-sur-mer to Marseille. I know the last 50 or 60kms perfectly as they were my training roads when I lived in Marseilles. So I have got a bit of an insight into the course. I will be definitely be giving feedback to my team-mates, and hopefully that will give us an advantage.

There are a few small climbs and what happens on them depend on how the race is ridden.

I know the last climb, the Col de la Gineste. There is normally a crosswind there, so position is going to be important. The thing is, from 50kms to go until the finish, you are not going to have much time to move up, so it’s important to be in the right place before then.

Fight for position
There will be a real fight for position and I hope it will be a safe race. Those climbs are harder than they look on the map and I am not sure the sprinters are going to get to the finish; it depends if anybody wants to make the race really hard, and also depends if it is as hot as the last few days have been. If so, it could be a real battle of endurance.

Away from the race, we have had a really beautiful hotel since coming over from Corsica. We are up in the mountains in the middle of nowhere.

When we were driving here the first night, we were thinking ‘where are we going?’ It is a big complex, with tennis courts, basketball courts and other stuff.

Anyway, the restaurant is about 10 minutes walk away. Because of that they give us little golf buggies to cruise around in. However, the hotel is not letting us drive them ourselves. Upon reflection, that is probably a good thing.

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