Stickybottle

Dan Martin and Ryan Mullen carry big Irish hopes into Algarve

Posted on: February 12th, 2018

Dan Martin UAE Team Emirates

Dan Martin and Ryan Mullen both go into the race with hopes of a stage win. Martin has a chance of claiming the overall. Two summit finishes will be the first test of the new team support he has been promised this year.

 

First test for Dan Martin UAE Team Emirates support

 

Two very different riders; Dan Martin and Ryan Mullen carry Irish hopes into the Volta ao Algarve.

Martin will, of course, be hoping to take a stage and even win the race outright.

For his part, the TT will interest Mullen greatly in the five-stage race which starts on Wednesday.

Friday’s stage 3 is a 20.3km mainly flat TT starting and finishing in Lagoa. And Ryan Mullen will have one thing on his mind; victory.

The 23-year-old Irish road and TT champion has already shown his form this year.

He claimed stage 3 of the Vuelta a San Juan in Argentina last month.

In the 14.4km test the new Trek-Segafredo rider was a huge 25 seconds faster than runner-up Italian Filippo Ganna (UAE Team Emirates).

And while claiming another win, this time in a 2.HC ranked event, will be challenging; the Irish tester should be to the fore.

Mullen was 14th on the TT stage in this race last year, when it was a pan flat 18km.

This time around the race against the clock is 20.3km. It is on a mainly flat course, though with some bumps

It will be interesting to see how he gets on this time around. He appears to have progressed physically over the winter.

And he has also expressed confidence in the new wheels and bike he is riding this year; key factors against the watch.

 

Dan Martin UAE Team Emirates

Dan Martin UAE Team Emirates

Ryan Mullen launches into his winning TT in January. Dan Martin in Algarve yellow 12 months ago.

 

The race opens on Wednesday with a 196.6km stage from Albufeire to Lagos that should end in a bunch sprint.

Thursday’s stage 2 takes the riders on a much more challenging route from Sagres to Fóia-Monchique.

The final 15kms of the stage are uphill; from sea level to an altitude of 900 metres.

Martin won last year’s summit finish on the second stage and took the yellow jersey.

He would lose the race lead in the following day’s TT. And he would eventually finish 6th overall; Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo) winning.

After the stage 3 TT, Saturday’s stage 4 is 199km from Almodôvar to Tavira. It should suit the sprinters.

The race concludes with stage 5 on Sunday; another brute that looks tailor-made for Dan Martin.

The 173.5km race from Faro to Malhão-Loulé features three cat 3 ascents and two cat 2 climbs.

And with the final 3km all uphill to the top of the category 2 summit finish, Martin will look to impress.

The race will also be the first test of the higher level of support Dan Martin says UAE Team Emirates is offering him.

Also on the team led by the Irish climber are Rory Sutherland and Ben Swift. And they are joined by Jan Polanc, Valerio Conti, Edward Ravasi and Vegard Stake Laengen.

However, there are a total of 13 WorldTour teams in the race even though it clashes with the Tour of Oman and Ruta del Sol.

Some of the names that jump out of the start list include Geraint Thomas (Team Sky), Tony Martin (Katusha-Alpecin) and Richie Porte (BMC Racing).

 

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