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Dan Martin 'stronger than ever' ahead of Giro d'Italia

Dan Martin (israel Start-Up Nation) at Tour du Var 2021 recon
(Image credit: Israel Start-Up Nation)

Dan Martin will lead an Israel Start-Up Nation team that includes Alessandro De Marchi, Patrick Bevin and Alex Dowsett at the Giro d’Italia, which gets underway in Turin on May 8.

The Irishman returns to the Corsa Rosa for the first time since he crashed out of the race in the opening team time trial in Belfast in 2014. Buoyed by his fourth place finish at last year’s Vuelta a España, Martin is targeting the general classification in Italy. 

He was riding strongly and in contention for a podium finish at the recent Tour of the Alps until a crash on the penultimate stage saw him drop to 14th overall.

“At the end of last season, I decided it was time for a new challenge and I was really excited to do the Giro d’Italia,” Martin said in a statement released by his team.

“This is a course that really suits me. I know that I’m stronger than I’ve ever been right now – both mentally and physically. My fourth place overall in the Vuelta last year was a big stepping stone to becoming more confident in doing well in the GC.”

The Israel Start-Up Nation squad for the Giro is completed by sprinter Davide Cimolai, Guy Niv, Matthias Brändle and Krists Neilands. There is no place in the team for André Greipel, who had previously signalled his hopes of earning selection for the race. 

Chris Froome continues his gradual return to form but will not use the Giro d'Italia, instead opting for a mix of training camps and other races before the Tour de France.

Israel Start-Up Nation are competing in the Giro for the fourth consecutive year and they scored their first-ever Grand Tour stage win in 2020, when Dowsett soloed to victory in Vieste on stage 8.

“The main goal for us is to do a top result in the GC with Dan. He is in great shape and he will have full support from the team to reach his – and our – goals,” said directeur sportif Nicki Sørensen. 

“However, we will also aim for stage wins as we have a team that can play a part in all terrains in this race.”

Martin, himself a double stage winner at the Tour de France and Vuelta a España, acknowledged that he had designs on adding a Giro success to his palmarès. He placed ninth on Monte Zoncolan on his first Giro appearance in 2010. 

“Obviously, winning a stage is also a big goal,” Martin said. 

“I have two in the Tour de France and two in the Vuelta a España and to complete the set of Grand Tour victories is a big ambition of mine.”

Israel Start-Up Nation for Giro d'Italia: Dan Martin (Irl), Patrick Bevin (NZl), Matthias Brändle (Aut), Davide Cimolai (Ita), Alessandro De Marchi (Ita), Alex Dowsett (GBr), Krists Neilands (Lat) and Guy Niv (Isr).