Stickybottle

Dan Martin on coping with team pressure to win big on Tour

Posted on: July 12th, 2018

Dan Martin is riding and sounding like a man who is really ready for the battle ahead; a million miles from the laboured early season when he felt the pressure.

 

Dan Martin on coping with team pressure to win big

 

Three-time Grand Tour stage winner Dan Martin has said he was delighted to be winning races again.

And he revealed the pressure that came with being team lead at UAE Team Emirates was the reason for his very quiet sprint campaign.

However, the summer in France is being good to the Irish pro cyclist so far, his season turning at Criterium du Dauphine last month.

He won a stage there and was 4th overall. And now with the first week of the Tour de France not completed yet he has taken a stage victory.

He joked at the finish that he was hoping his wife hadn’t gone into labour while watching him race.

“It’s a great feeling to actually get a win again. I’ve had so many second places at the Tour since the last one,” he said.

“I was a bit nervous because of the headwind, I didn’t think it was going to happen,” he added of attacking so early.

He pulled the trigger with just over 1km of the 2km  Mûr-de-Bretagne remaining.

 

 

“The race went so hard on the first part of the climb,” he continued. “I saw everyone was on the limit. And there were no teammates left. So why not have a try?

“The legs just were there – I don’t know what happened. Maybe adrenaline or what. I felt really good yesterday and didn’t quite get up there in the final to have a go.

“It was a good sign for today. I was really relaxed all day – not confident but looking forward to having a crack, looking forward to racing hard on the last climb.

“The last time I got 2nd here, I had already lost a bit of time before the stage. And I thought maybe they’d let me go. Today there was no question; I just attacked as hard as I could.

“To get the win – it makes this Tour de France a success. And everything else will be a bonus.”

Those sentiments represent a major turn in his season. He moved to UAE Team Emirates in the off season precisely to be team leader at the Tour.

But when the first months of his new status in a new team did not go well, people questioned if it had been a good move.

His win today has completely put that argument to bed. And he has now feels relaxed enough to explain why his spring was below par.

“I came to this team to be the leader and the pressure at the beginning, of being the leader; is why I didn’t do so well in spring,” he explained.

“The biggest difference between QuickStep and UAE is that here I’ve become a real team leader at UAE.

“At QuickStep I was always the GC rider but never took on the pressure of the whole team. And that’s what this victory even more special; because I took on this role with added pressure.

“Maybe that’s why I wasn’t so good at the start of the season. I needed to adapt to this role.

“But in the last few weeks and especially at this race, we have created a special atmosphere in the team.

“We are putting very little pressure on ourselves and we’re racing well. I think that’s my influence and my attitude change. And it’s reflecting in the whole team.

“I think we’ve seen a big turn around at UAE Team Emirates and long may that continue.”

 

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