Daniel Martin Interview
Ahead of his fifth Tour de France appearance, 30-year-old Dan Martin spoke to Roadcycling.com about his objectives in La Grand Boucle.
One of only two Irish riders to line up at the start of the 2017 Tour de France, Dan Martin didn't hide his ambition to deliver an additional strong overall result. After placing ninth in last year's Tour, the Quick-Step Floors rider is confident the experience gained from last year's success can help him finish even higher in the general classification this year - even more so because only six seconds separated him from seventh place in last year's Tour de France.
"Last year I made some mistakes, but I learned a lot from that race, so I'm very optimistic about my chances this time around. I'm coming here without any pressure, but with a big confidence boost from my Criterium du Dauphiné ride earlier this month. Actually, my performance has been strong and consistent the entire season so far, and I don't think I've finished a stage race outside the top six. If I manage to keep that record intact when we reach Paris, I'll be happy," Dan Martin explained.
Top three finishes at Paris-Nice and Critérium du Dauphiné, together with a double of runner-up places at Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, are Martin's top results so far this season - a season in which we've seen him make another step forward in the QuickStep team hierarchy. It comes by no surprise that halfway through the season, he's positioned in 7th place in the WorldTour individual classification.
"We are coming to the Tour de France with a strong and experienced team, one which can predict race tactics. If you look at our QuickStep team line-up, you'll notice it's very solid, especially for the first week of the race, which in the past used to pose a problem for me. Many things can happen during the opening part of the Tour de France and having such a team by my side makes me very happy and comfortable," Martin said.
Ever since the 2017 Tour de France route was unveiled last October, many have said it offers riders an atypical course, despite taking the peloton through all five major mountain ranges of France, mainly due to its three summit finishes, steep climbs it brings to the fore and a limited and thus less decisive number of time trial kilometers. For Martin, these factors are strong reasons to find the parcours very much to his liking.
"The first stages could be tricky, but if I get through them without any bad luck and let the legs do the talking, then things will be just fine. The steep climbs could make for an aggressive and unpredictable race, just as we had at the Dauphiné, when the general classification guys were left without any teammates before the last ascent. There will be many opportunities to gain or lose time, so we might be in for an open and spectacular race."
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