Irishman Daniel Martin, the nephew of legend Stephen Roche, landed his first professional victory in the Route du Sud on Sunday, holding a lead he built up on the mountainous penultimate stage with the help of his Garmin-Chipotle team. The 21-year-old felt comfortable on the final stage with his 1'42" lead over the older and more experienced Christophe Moreau (Agritubel), and may not have fully realized the quality of his achievement.
"I mean, first you think - hey, it's just a bike race. In one sense, it's the same as if it was a junior event, guys with numbers on their backs," he told Cycling Weekly. "But then you realize who you've been racing against, what this race really is. Maybe afterwards when I read about in the magazines it'll really sink in."
Slipstream CEO and team director Jonathan Vaughters made sure his team controlled enough of the race to keep Martin in the lead, but a large breakaway gained 6'50" on the main peloton. Fortunately, the highest placed rider on GC was Ramon Troncoso (Karpin Galicia), who was 18'39 behind at the start of the day.
Despite the lack of threatening riders, the Slipstream squad had its work cut out to contain the gap. "Nobody made it easy for us today - and the sprinters' teams pretty much just gave up halfway through," said Vaughters on the team's website, slipstreamsports.com. "However, the guys did great and held the gap nice and even. Dan was comfortable and well protected. Winning our first race out for our new sponsor, Garmin, is pretty special."
Martin gave special praise to Tyler Farrar, whom he credited with pulling for a large portion of the 207 kilometre stage. "Even when he got dropped he came back again and then did some more work. He was amazing."
"Really I had an armchair ride - and it's all thanks to my team-mates hard work."