Talkingshop: Dan Martin (Garmin Sharp)

VeloUK talks to Garmin-Sharp rider Dan Martin who’s won a stage in the Vuelta and been second in the Tour of Lombardy about his future goals in cycling

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I can’t be sure but I think the last time I spoke to Dan Martin was when he won the British Junior Road Race championships (2004) and that was quite a few years ago! Dan was special then and has become quite a star in the pro peloton after taking his racing licence to Ireland.

2004 and Dan Martin wins the British Junior title. Ian Stannard was third. Both riders have gone on to win in the pro ranks.

Nephew of 1987 triple crown winner Stephen Roche, Dan was in Scotland recently for the Braveheart dinner where VeloUK caught up with him for a spot interview while the racing went on around us.

Coming from the amateur ranks in France, Dan has been riding at WorldTour level since 2008 with Garmin and has a Grand Tour stage win (Vuelta 2011) as well as a great second place in the classic, Tour of Lombardy in 2011. In 2012, Dan won the Mountains jersey in the Tour of Beijing and had two top tens in the classics, Leige-Bastogne-Leige and La Fleche Wallone. Dan was also 35th in the Tour de France.

Dan is based in Girona where he’s been for five years and been joined there by his dad Neil who Dan says is pretty much a professional again working as a tour guide for a cycling training camp business there. “I love it there” Dan says. “The roads, the town, the restaurants – it’s a really great place to live and I think someone said there’s something like 60 to 65 pros there this year”.

With British riders winning major Tours now (Wiggins) and making the podium as well (Froome), when asked how he views his career, Dan said “if I can continue my career at this rate, it will be fantastic. This year has been a bit up and down as far as injuries and getting sick but I have had some good results as well.”

“It bodes well for the future that I can get such good results even when I haven’t been 100 per cent.”

Back on British roads in the Tour of Britain, Dan shows his aggressive nature by going on the attack.

A professional for five years, Dan adds “it’s great having all the Brits in the peloton as there’s more guys to talk to now! I was fortunate to get into a good team in Marseille and then progress the way I did. To see Sky come in and be successful straight away, shows how cycling has changed. For so long it was a closed sport like if you were French, you’d get a contract but now if you’re a good rider, you get a contract.”

“We now see guys like Andy (Fenn) and Adam (Blythe) coming in and winning races and that shows how the sport is progressing in a positive way.”

Dan, who has been with Garmin throughout his career, says he’s signed for two more years and will be sorting his race programme out in December at a training camp with his team. Does he have ambitions of winning the Tour de France I asked?

“My goal is to enjoy cycling and enjoy racing and the results tend to follow. I’d be lying if I didn’t have ambitions and they are to see how far I can go doing my best and if I achieve them, I’ll be happy. Will that be making the podium of a Grand Tour or winning a Grand Tour? I don’t know. I really do think I can win a stage of the Tour de France though after winning a stage in the Vuelta.”

Dan points his camera at the Thunderdrome girls….

Asked does Wiggin’s victory inspire him, Dan replied “having been a teammate of Bradleys and knowing him, his win has proven it is possible. He’s also shown just how committed you have to be to do it. I am not sure I am psychologically strong enough to do what he did this year to win the Tour. The commitment he showed was incredible.”

“Outside of the Tour, I really enjoy the one day classic like those in the Ardennes. They seem to be something I have been good at since I turned professional. I seem to be good at long distances and those races appeal to me.”

“To be brutally honest, you get so tired in a Grand Tour, it’s horrible. After three weeks, you’re so tired, you don’t want to get on your bike again when you have to race! But the one day races I really enjoy.”

“They are all or nothing races where you can leave it all on the road and not worry about what is going to happen the next day. In the Tour, I’ve shown some inexperience by attacking too early or leaving too much on the road and the next day suffered.”

“I’m aggressive and I enjoy that in my racing and that’s how I ride. Maybe that means I’ll lean towards one day races for the near future but I’ve shown to myself in the Vuelta, I can ride for GC so we’ll see what happens.”

Dan’s family out showing their support for their son. 

In the Tour of Beijing and Tour of Japan which came at the end of the season, Martin was showing how well he can sprint too with podiums in both races. Anyone who knows how rapid Edvald Boasson Hagen is will realise that for Dan to beat him in a group sprint shows how rapid he can be.

Dan explained how his sprinting is now well enough known by his rivals that in the Tour of Japan, he was sat on for the final two kilometres before Basso came past to win narrowly from Dan. “I have always been fast as a junior but it’s taken me a while to get used to the bigger gears.”

“Now I am getting stronger and stronger, I feel in one day races, at the end when everyone is tired, I know I can sprint well. I’ll never be a bunch sprinter of course but in one day races I can sprint well from a group. Maybe next year I will surprise them in time trials!”

Thanks to Dan for his time and good luck to him in 2013.


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