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Irish hoping for good performance

Irishman Daniel Martin will go pro in 2008

Irishman Daniel Martin will go pro in 2008 (Image credit: Pierre Carrey/VC La Pomme Marseille)

By Shane Stokes in Stuttgart

Irish climber Daniel Martin has had a strong season with the VC La Pomme team and is hoping to complete his final amateur season with a strong ride in Saturday's Under 23 road race in Stuttgart.

The 21 year old has had a number of strong results this season, including the final stage and the overall classification in the Tour de Pays de Savoie. He also won the mountains jersey in the Ronde de l'Isard, plus took a stage, the points classification and fifth overall in the Giro della Valle d'Aosta Mont Blanc.

Team manager Kurt Bogaerts said that he is hoping for a good result from Martin or compatriot Mark Cassidy, who was 2nd in the GP Dourges and 14th place in the European road championships this season.

"Daniel is a climber and he thinks is a really good course for him," said the Belgian, who runs the Murphy and Gunn/Newlyn Group/M. Donnelly Sean Kelly team. "There is a hard climb, then the second climb is pretty long. He is really looking forward to it. If Mark is on a good day, he will like the course too.

"They are both two different riders but on this circuit, Mark's chances are equal, I think. If it was a real climbing race then Daniel would be better. But on this circuit I think that it is good that we have two guys who will help each other. We also have Isaac Speirs there – he is young and lacks experience at this level, but he will be there to help them and to be ready if somebody punctures."

Martin was approached by Team Slipstream last season but decided to remain another year in the amateur ranks before turning pro. His strong performances this summer led to another offer from the team and he will line out in the distinctive Argyle colours next season. Cassidy currently races for the Continental Murphy and Gunn team.

Bogaerts is hoping one or both will show well. "I think it is possible for the team to get a top ten place, and quietly I hope one of the two can be top five. I would rather get one good result if they can work for each other, like if one is in the front the other then just sits on and use his brains. I think they will ride intelligently because they are very professional."

The under 23 road race will see the riders complete nine laps, for a total distance of 171.9 kilometres. Ireland will also have an entrant in the seven lap, 133.7 kilometre elite women's race. Siobhan Dervan will line out there and is hoping for a solid ride in what is her second time taking part in the worlds.

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