QuickStep outline “big ambitions” for Dan Martin at Catalunya
Volta A Catalunya is a race Dan Martin regards as his home tour and he has always fared very well.
By Brian Canty
Quick Step Floors are going into this week’s Volta A Catalunya with all guns blazing for a top GC result through Irishman Dan Martin.
The 30-year old will spearhead the team’s assault on the race over the coming week, despite being supported by three neo-pros.
Martin has won stages here twice and also claimed the race outright in 2013.
“We have big ambitions with Dan, he already proved his form in Paris-Nice and we are confident we can get another nice result,” said sport director Geert Van Bondt.
He will be joined by Giro and Vuelta stage winner Gianluca Brambilla, Laurens De Plus, Pieter Serry, Petr Vakoč and neo-pros Rémi Cavagna, Enric Mas and Maximilian Schachmann.
“The entire team is here for him,” continued Van Bondt. “But with some stages suited to the skills of Brambilla and Vakoč, they too will have a personal shot at a good result.”
Martin took a brilliant win atop La Molina last year when he beat Alberto Contador, Richie Porte and Romain Bardet, amongst others.
Contador is one of several big names also racing this week, as are Chris Froome (Team Sky), former winner Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Tejay Van Garderen (BMC Racing) and Pierre Rolland (Cannondale Drapac).
But Dan Martin has a big advantage in that he knows the roads well around Catalunya and none more so than the course for Tuesday’s 41.3-kilometre time-trial around Banyoles which will be a key stage in shaping the overall.
“We are aware it can play a big role in the final outcome of the Volta a Catalunya, so our goal is to be in the top three there,” added Van Bondt.
“Two mountain top finishes will come later in the race, but if you lose around half a minute in the TTT, it’s going to be difficult to take that time back, so we’ll make our homework and give everything on that day.”