While his teammates battle on at the Giro d’Italia, Daniel Martin (Garmin-Barracuda) continues his training as he focuses on the Tour de France. July’s start in Liege is still some weeks away, and the American ProTeam has yet to even announce their long list, let alone their final nine, but all being well, the Irish climber will make his debut at the Tour.
After his best ever start to a season which has included 5th in Liège - Bastogne – Liège and 6th in La Fleche Wallonne, Martin headed to the Tour of Romandie where he concluded his spring with 14th place overall. With the Dauphine in June, his race programme matches a traditional Tour build-up schedule, similar to Andy Schleck or Cadel Evans.
“Romandie put me in a box. I suffered my way through and then I’ve had a bit of a break. That was always the plan to have a really heavy load of racing then recover. I always come out really well from that,” Martin told Cyclingnews.
The Tour will not mark Martin’s debut in Grand Tour stage racing, he’s competed in two editions of the Vuelta plus one edition of the Giro. He was of course slated for Garmin’s Tour team in 2009 but was forced to withdraw through injury on the eve of the race.
“If everything goes to plan I’ll be going to the Tour but last time I was selected for the Tour I got injured and couldn’t go. I want to say I’m dong the Tour until I’m on the start line in Liege. Everything is going to plan at the moment and I’ve had my best start to the year ever so it bodes well as far as my strength goes. I’ll be going to the Dauphine with the idea of Tour preparation but in my mind I’m not going there to earn my place. If a result comes my way of course I’ll take that opportunity, though.
“I’m not just going there to ride around but I can’t afford to be on top form at the Dauphine, especially if you want to do something at the Tour.”
Martin’s breakthrough in Grand Tours came in last year’s Vuelta where he won a mountain stage to La Covatilla, finished 13th overall and 4th in the king of the mountains competition. Team boss Jonathan Vaughters has made comments suggesting that Martin could aim at the mountains jersey in the Tour.
“I haven’t really thought about it too much,” Martin said when asked about the possibility of the jersey.
“I know that with my characteristics obviously stage wins are a possibility and with that mentality and the double points on the mountain top finishes then winning stages will mean you’re sniffing around the jersey. It’s a jersey in the Tour de France and even to wear it and it would be a really big thing for me and the team and perhaps more realistic than trying to take yellow.”