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Irish talent Dan Martin of Garmin-Cervélo ranks among the top climbers at this year’s Amgen Tour of California. With his knack for going up, Martin can be expected to play a significant role in Wednesday’s steep stage finish on Sierra Road - and like the other climbers in this year’s Amgen Tour of California, Martin is happy to get down to the business of riding uphill fast.
"I’d say today’s stage is harder for me. These guys over here, the Americans, they ride so fast in the finish circuits," Martin told Cyclingnews before Tuesday’s stage.
During Monday’s wet finish in Sacramento, he lost fifteen seconds after he missed a split in the field. "I kinda messed up coming into the finish, and I didn’t expect it to be so fast. And the rain hampered me as well. It’s my fault, you know?" he explained.
Though he is only 24 years old, Martin’s prowess when the road turns up is already well-established. In 2010, he finished ninth on the fearsome Monte Zoncolan with its leg-breaking 20% gradients. The previous year, Martin went on a rampage during the early season stage races, and finished second overall at the Volta a Cyclista Cataluyna and third at the Tour de Méditerranéen. He has also ridden well in the hilly one-day races, and last year won Tre Valle Varesine, the challenging Italian semi-classic.
Martin is part of a stacked Garmin-Cervélo team that includes general classification threats David Zabriskie, Christian Vande Velde, and Ryder Hesjedal. Zabriskie has finished second overall on three occasions in this race and Vande Velde finished third in 2008. Ryder Hesjedal, meanwhile, rode to a surprise seventh place at last year’s Tour de France.
Taken together they are a formidable force and any one of the four Garmin-Cervélo riders could contend for a high finish in the general classification. "We’ve got such a strong team here, we’re going to see who is strongest on Sierra Road. and then obviously we’ve got a lot of cards to play," explained Martin of the team’s tactics.
Though he is well-qualified to ride for the general classification, Martin expects to play a supporting role during this week’s race. "It’s a massive race for my American team-mates and so hopefully, it will be one of those guys who gets on the podium and I can help them for the rest of the race," he said.
Still, if an opportunity comes his way, Martin will take his chance. "I go to every race to try to make a result," he commented. After the Amgen Tour of California finishes, Martin will head to the Critérium du Dauphiné.
"Hopefully I can be at the front there, and we’ll try to win there," he said of the June race in France.
But that is for the future. Martin is plainly motivated to ride well in the climbs at this week’s Amgen Tour of California. Speaking of the Sierra Road stage he said, "We can have some fun!"