Garmin-Cannondale's Daniel Martin has a mixed history with the Grand Tours: after claiming his maiden Tour de France stage victory in Bagnères-de-Bigorre in 2013, he put his focus on the Giro d'Italia last season, but crashed in the opening team time trial and broke his collarbone. He spent the rest of July watching the Tour on television.
But the Tour de France proved to have an irresistable gravitational pull, and the nephew of Stephen Roche, the only Irish Tour winner, is back and aiming for another stage win.
"I didn't realize how much I was going to miss it last year until I was at home and watching it on the TV. It was something that was missing from my season, and I'm desperate to get back this year," Martin said of the Tour.
Martin has his eyes on stage 3, which finishes in the Mur de Huy, the same finish as La Flèche Wallonne, where the Irishman finished second last year to Alejandro Valverde. This year, Martin's Classics campaign was scuttled by crashes in both Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Flèche, and he hopes to get revenge at the Tour.
"The one stage that stands out for me at the moment is the Mur de Huy," Martin said. "It's the first chance for redemption from the Ardennes. Obviously it was a huge disappointment for me. I was in incredible form and just got taken out in two silly crashes. To have a second a second crack at the Mur de Huy in one year is special, and to have it in the Tour de France is even more special. To win the stage and get the team off to a good start would be really special."