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Martin gearing up for season

Daniel Martin

Daniel Martin (Image credit: Pierre Carrey/VC La Pomme Marseille)

By Shane Stokes

New Irish professional Daniel Martin is currently building form in advance of his debut with the Slipstream Chipotle team. The 21 year-old climber will further his condition at the team training camp this month, then get his season underway in mid-February. Martin gained a contract with the team thanks to some good amateur results in 2007. His wins last season included the GP Rayol Canadel and Tour de Savoie as well as the points competition in the Giro della Valle d'Aosta and the mountains classification in the Ronde de l'Isard.

He is looking forward to starting his life as a pro rider. "It's great to get a contract, although it wasn't really a surprise," he told Cyclingnews. "It seemed like natural progression. I was pretty sure it was going to happen, so you just expect it, to be honest. It is more just moving up a level [in the sport]."

Martin was approached by Slipstream during the 2006 season but turned down the chance to go pro then. He felt that another year in the amateur ranks would stand to him. "I had only just become comfortable in the amateur ranks when they first started talking to me. I had spent 18 months suffering, clinging on the back of the group, then I started winning races. When they got in touch I didn't feel ready to go back to suffering again! I was pretty young too.

"It is good," he added. I think I have progressed a lot in this last year, to the extent that every race I wanted to do well in worked out. I said at the start of the year that I want to perform strongly in certain races and I got up there in each of them. So remaining amateur for another season worked out."

Although the team programme is still being finalised, Martin is likely to make his debut in the Tour of the Mediterranean, which runs from February 13-17. The Trofeo Laigueglia and the Tour du Haut Var follow later in the month, after which his next races will be confirmed.

Martin is a first cousin of Crédit Agricole professional Nicolas Roche, who also reports himself satisfied with his winter training. He has worked hard in recent weeks and will make his own season debut in the Tour de Langkawi race in Malaysia, running from February 9-17.

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