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Dan Martin: “I trained well in winter and can’t wait to get racing”

Posted on: February 13th, 2018

Dan Martin Tour de France 2018

New season and new team for Dan Martin. It’s all about working towards the Tour de France in 2018. He sounds confident as the big project, eyes fixed on July, gets underway in Portugal.

 

Dan Martin bullish as ‘project Tour de France 2018’ begins

 

About to ride his first race with a new team Dan Martin has said he feels nervous but excited and ready to go.

The 31-year-old Irish rider has departed QuickStep for UAE Team Emirates after two years.

Riding with the Belgian outfit he developed a near bullet-proof consistency. Martin achieved some of his best results in stage races.

While he won just one race last year – a stage of the Volta ao Algarve – he took podium finishes in some of the biggest one day events in the world. And he also ended up on the podium in major stage races.

Those top three placings were achieved at Paris Nice (3rd), Criterium du Dauphine (3rd), Liège-Bastogne-Liège (2nd) and La Flèche Wallonne (2nd). Also last year, he was 6th in the Tour de France.

In 2016 he was 3rd overall and took a stage in Volta Ciclista a Catalunya and won a stage in Volta Ciclista a Catalunya. He was also 3rd in both La Flèche Wallonne and Criterium du Dauphine and 9th at the Tour.

But having ridden so well in last year’s Tour, despite losing time and fracturing vertebrae in a crash, his move to Team UAE Emirates is all about that race this year.

He will of course target other races along the way. But all of his efforts will work towards the Tour; his key aim for the year.

He has a great chance of finishing on the podium in Paris in July. And he is also a potential winner of the race; if everything went his way.

Tomorrow he effectively gets that ‘project Tour de France 2018’ underway at the Volta ao Algarve. There are two summit finishes and a slightly lumpy TT among the five stages.

Dan Martin won stage 2 last year; the same finishing climb the riders will race up on Thursday.

And with another uphill finish on Sunday’s finale; this is very much Martin territory.

The race will also offer the first indication how well the team works for him; the key reason he has transferred to the squad on a two-year deal.

For support in coming days the Irish team leader will have: Valerio Conti, Vegard Stake Laengen, Jan Polanc, Edward Ravasi, Rory Sutherland and Ben Swift.

And on the eve of his first race of the year and his debut event for the team, Martin seems up for the fight.

“Going in Volta ao Algarve I have a mixture of nerves and excitement,” he said.

“There is always anxiety to get back to racing and find out where the fitness levels are.

“But I feel good and have trained well in the winter months, but racing is of course always different.

“It’s exciting to finally pin a number on the UAE Team Emirates jersey and start racing with a great group of guys.

“Of course it will take time to learn how to race well together. But we already did two nice training camps with lots of laughs and getting to know each other.

“We have a very strong team coming to Algarve so I can’t wait to get started.”

 

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