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A look at the school, the races and the future of this unique 'sport'
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Dan Martin (Garmin-Transitions) on his way to 20th
National championships next event for Irishman
Dan Martin of Garmin-Transitions is taking a well-earned rest after finishing a grueling Giro d'Italia on Sunday in Verona. The 23-year-old Irishman completed his Giro debut in 57th overall for the second Grand Tour finish of his career after last year's Vuelta a España.
Martin, who spoke to Cyclingnews from his home base in Girona, Spain, perhaps summed up the feelings of many Giro finishers with his initial, two-word assessment of his performance: "I survived".
The Irish climber entered the Giro d'Italia with no pressure for results and an opportunity to test his mettle in the mountains. Martin's best results occurred before and after the second rest day: a ninth place finish in stage 15 which finished on Monte Zoncolan and then a 20th place finish two days later on the Plan de Corones mountain time trial.
"My best day was on the Zoncolan, then we had the rest day and then the Plan de Corones," said Martin. "After the Zoncolan there were two short days: I did 2.5 hours on the rest day and then the time trial was a short day, but I never felt the same after the [second] rest day.
"I made it to Verona, but I suffered through the final week. My legs felt good, but the rest of me just wasn't there."
Martin is now taking the time to assess his Giro performance, but much remains a blur. "I keep recalling anecdotes from the race, but they all blend together. Every day was a challenge," he explained.
Two moments which stand out, however, were teammate Tyler Farrar's stage wins on the second and tenth stages. "It was great to cross the finish line and see Tyler with his arms in the air on the giant screen," said Martin. "We've grown up together on the team and he's shown that he's one of the best sprinters in the world."
Martin was also part of the mass escape on stage 11 which saw the general classification upended when race leader Alexandre Vinokourov and many of the race favourites finished nearly 13 minutes down.
"I was off the front before with [Team Milram's Linus] Gerdemann, then we got caught. I thought we were caught by the peloton but when I drifted back I thought, 'Where'd everybody go?'. I was already suffering from making an effort and I didn't really know what was happening back in the peloton."
The Giro d'Italia was the final event of Martin's initial block of racing for the season in which the Irishman took part in Tour Méditerranèen, Tour du Haut Var, Paris-Nice, Critérium International, Vuelta al Pais Vasco plus two of the Ardennes Classics, Flèche Wallonne and Liège - Bastogne - Liège. Martin will have nearly all of June to rest and recover before his next event.
"My next race is the [Irish] national championships," said Martin. "I've been going since the beginning of the season, since the Tour of the Med. It's now time for a break."
Following the Irish road championships will be another break as Martin doesn't anticipate being part of his team's Tour de France roster. "They told me I'll have July off," said Martin. "You never know what may happen, but I'm looking forward to watching the race play out day-by-day on the television. Garmin-Transitions will have a strong team."