On this St. Patrick’s Day Cyclingnews speaks with Team Garmin-Transition’s Irishman Dan Martin about his upcoming goal of the Critérium International.
Earlier this season, young Irish pro Dan Martin pinpointed Paris-Nice as a race he’d like to do well in, but a crash, a block of endurance training and domestique duties for teammate David Millar saw him end the race 71st overall. The 23-year-old Garmin Transitions rider is not at all fazed by this and is looking forward to his next competitive appointment, Critérium International.
“I felt okay in the race,” he told Cyclingnews. “It is still very early in the year for me and I have never really gone fantastic at the start of the season. My training has been going well. I have been doing a lot of endurance work. I kind of paid for that at the race because it was so intense…I didn’t quite have that top end to be fighting at the front. Riding on the front was no problem, but it was just that top end of form that I was lacking.
“Christian [Vande Velde, 79th overall] was in the same sort of situation as myself. He is in good shape, but he has been doing a lot of endurance work. We are just lacking that top end to be winning races at the moment. It is probably a lack of racing.
With the start of the season getting earlier and earlier, and riders like Alejandro Valverde and Luis León Sanchez already showing form, Martin said that this difference in form made things tougher for those who have chosen a slower build-up towards the Tour.
“A lot of those boys who were at the front, such as the Caisse d’Epargne guys, have been Down Under and been racing for a couple of months already. Paris-Nice is basically our second race,” he said. “So it is partly self-inflicted, but hopefully it will pay dividends in July.”
One of those who didn’t compete in Australia but who still rode well in Paris-Nice was his teammate David Millar. He was seventh in the prologue and held ninth place overall going into the final stage, although he did drop to thirteenth due to a puncture close to the finish in Nice.
Millar traditionally aims for a strong ride in the Race to the Sun and Martin was impressed by his form.
“David loves that race, and he is always so motivated for it…especially when he is doing well, and was in the top ten,” he said. “He did such a strong prologue as well. We knew the course this year would suit him as well; one mountain-top finish with a ten minute effort is pretty good for him.
More photos of Dan Martin: