7 factors to decide Dan Martin Tour de France destiny

Posted on: June 30th, 2017

Dan Martin Tour de France

 

7 factors to decide Dan Martin Tour de France destiny

 

Dan Martin begins the Tour de France tomorrow with the chance of his life.

Having finished in the top 10 at a Grand Tour twice, this looks like the year he can go much further.

He is ageing very well; in the form of his life and more consistent than ever.

Over the next three weeks in France, it is within Dan Martin’s grasp to do a ride that would make him a household name.

However, many things can go wrong or indeed go in his favour and result in a dream ride.

We’ve put together our view of the 7 factors that will decide Dan Martin’s Tour de France destiny.

 

1 The opposition

Okay; so this is so obvious it’s hardly worth saying. But the performance of others will be crucial for Dan Martin, especially this year.

The recent form of the main general classification men has not been as rocked solid as we’ve seen before.

Chris Froome (Team Sky) has not seemed in the kind of condition this year that we’ve seen from him before the Tour de France in other years. If he were to falter, the race would be blown wide open.

Richie Porte (BMC Racing) has probably shown the best form this year of the main contenders.

He lost the Criterium du Dauphine on the final stage. But he still rode out of his socks and was head and shoulders above Froome climbing on the last day.

But Porte has never been on the podium in the Tour before, or indeed any Grand Tour.

And when he has looked in with a great chance he’s tended to be unlucky with crashes and punctures.

Like Froome, if the form we expect from him doesn’t materialise or if he suffers bad luck; suddenly a huge obstacle in Dan Martin’s path to the podium is removed.

One of the other really big men in this Tour is Nairo Quintana. The Movistar rider lost the Giro d’Italia to Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) on the final stage TT.

But even before that, there was a sense we weren’t looking at quite the same Quintana on the big mountains that we had seen before.

He attacked plenty, but his ability to finish the job seemed more limited than before.

Dumoulin and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) don’t ride this Tour. Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale) was 3rd last year but hasn’t exactly been on fire this season.

And while one would never bet against the likes of Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) making the top five or the even the podium; his consistency in stage races is definitely not what it was.

There are lots of other contenders and up and coming riders who can break through on Tour de France 2017.

But some of those who would be expected to mop up the top five placings this year have looked shaky. And this looks like a Tour de France for some GC upsets.

And Dan Martin, in great form and more consistent than ever, just may be one of the men to capitalise on that.

 

2 Staying upright

He said it himself in a pre-Tour interview in Germany yesterday; Dan Martin must stay upright and safe on this race.

Martin has had bad runs in the past with crashes in races taking him out of the final or out of the race completely.

He had won stage 9 of the 2013 Tour de France but would crash out of the Vuelta later in the season.

When the Giro started in Belfast the following year he was out before the first stage TTT was even over; hitting a manhole cover while riding flat out.

And the year after that, 2015, he crashed out of the Vuelta. Nothing will shape Dan Martin’s Tour de France destiny as instantly has hitting the deck with force at high speed.

In his favour, any rider can have a bad run and Martin definitely seems to have put that behind him.

But he needs to be sure he does not come off in this race. The first days will be especially nervous and high risk in that regard.

 

3 Not getting over-excited

Dan Martin could be seen on the front of the yellow jersey group in Andorra last year dragging the main favourites along.

It was perhaps as a result of over exuberance on his part. And indeed he has said in the build up to the Tour de France he felt he rode like an “idiot” last year.

He explained it was the first time he was at the front in the high mountains of a Tour. But he also insisted he had learned from his mistakes.

There are lots of quality riders in this race and many of them are backed by plenty of climbing team mates. That’s not an asset Dan Martin enjoys.

So he really needs to keep his head and let the others do the lion’s share of the work.

If he can do that, hopefully we’ll see that killer pounce of his towards the end of the hardest stages. And maybe he’ll take a stage, or even a couple of stages, as he rides for general classification.

 

4 His allergies

In the early part of Dan Martin’s career he spoke repeatedly about how allergies had played havoc with his form in the summer months.

He then went and had surgery done on his nose, which appears to have rectified the matter.

In his comments and interviews he hasn’t complained about his allergies for the longest time.

As long as things stay that way he’ll be on a level playing field with the others rather than racing with one hand tied behind his back.

 

5 Willingness to take chances

Dan Martin is most definitely not a man afraid to take chances. Once he’s in form and he has a chance of winning, as soon as the road goes up he’s dishing out the pain.

It’s a strategy that has brought him huge wins. His two Tour de Lombardy victories and his Liege-Bastogne-Liege triumph all came because he was willing to go for the killer attack when the stakes were at their highest.

When attacking riders are focussing on GC they sometimes become more defensive. And it has been the ruin of many a rider.

Clearly Martin wants to make that podium in Paris, and clearly he wants to win the Tour. But he needs to be careful not to pull back on his propensity for all-out attacks.

When used at the right time it’s a strategy that has brought him great success. And in this race it may bring him vital time gains.

He made the podium in the Criterium du Dauphine on the last stage. That happened because he was willing to go all out and attack.

He started the day 8th overall. He was willing to risk that, and perhaps even a place in the top 10, and he was rewarded.

 

6 Consistency

It’s been his byword this season, and also last year. Whereas previously Martin could have some very bad days in stage races, it’s not a problem as he gets that little bit older.

He finished 7th in the Vuelta in 2014, after coming back from crashing in the Giro.

But that was the only Grand Tour, until last year’s Tour de France, that he put a big performance together for a full three weeks.

This year he’s finished 6th overall or higher in all the stage races he’s ridden.

At Paris-Nice and the Dauphine he was 3rd overall. He’s had a run, race after race, of top results and never falling apart over the last 18 months.

He can go a long, long way given the form he is in right now.

 

7 Lady luck

Yep; no matter how good you are or the kind of form you’re in, everyone needs a bit of luck.

From crashes, to picking the right breakaway and attacking just as the longest stall begins; good and bad fortune will have their say before the Tour de France ends in three weeks time.

We say Martin’s had his fair share of the bad stuff in recent years with all those crashes. He’s due a season where he sails through unscathed and we think this is it. This can be Dan Martin’s Tour de France.

 

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