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Irishman hopes that change of teams will help him return to past glory.

Photo: Sirotti




11.01.2016 @ 10:30 Posted by Jesper Ralbjerg

The past two seasons have been tough for Irish rider Dan Martin, primarily due to serious crashes at Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Vuelta a España, but the Irishman is adamant that he is ready to embark on new victorious adventures with the Etixx-QuickStep outfit.


Speaking to on why he chose Etixx-QuickStep, Martin said he takes a liking to the team’s ambitious way of riding and the fact that it never adheres strictly to a fixed and unalterable tactic.


“The way they race suits my style. I do have a bit of an open card to play. They don’t have a fixed tactic, they are open to aggressive tactics and that’s my style of racing. They are a team that would risk everything on winning and maybe get last rather than get second. I love that. It just seemed a good fit from the start.”


His ambitions, Martin makes clear, haven’t diminished one iota.


“I’m ambitious. I want to get back to winning races. I came so close so many times last year it was so frustrating. I think I had about eight top-four finishes and didn’t actually win a race and each time they were high-profile races. So many guys in this team win races, and hopefully that will rub off on me.”


Dan Martin will be getting into action at Valencia and then in the Tour of Oman. The latter of these two races could suit his characteristics as he himself pointed out.


“I start off in Valencia and then I do Oman, and they’re new races for me. Oman is a race that I’ve always wanted to do and it suits me. I don’t really have any ambitions for it because I don’t know how the form will be but I’m just going to go to races and race as hard as I can. I want to get back to how I was as a junior and not have to worry about WorldTour points and just race hard and try to be as fit as I can.”


Still focused on Ardennes Classics

However, the Ardennes Classics remain high on the Irishman’s list of priorities.


“I’m going to do much of the same that I have in the past few years. It seems to work for me with the Ardennes in mind. Catalunya is a race that I’ve been really successful in every year and it’s a home race, I know the roads well. It’s nice not to have to travel to a race; I can just drive to the start. For the Ardennes we have a really strong team with Julian [Alaphilippe] and Bob Jungels, and I’m really excited. Going back to Liège-Bastogne-Liège in one of Belgium’s biggest sports teams, I think that the attention is going to be a little bit different, but it’s exciting.”


“Obviously I want to be good in those races and the team expects me to be good in those races so it’s not going to be different that much but I think it will make it more fun having a few cards to play. You’re not really chasing the race; you can afford to make the race and decide tactics and play your cards. I’ve spoken to Bob in the peloton, and Julian too, and it should work really well. We complement each other well; we’re by no means the same rider. Hopefully we can all get there in good form and do some damage."


Me, July and France don't mix

The mid-season will be all about the Tour de France and the Olympics. While Martin fancies his chances in the Olympic road race, he prefers to postpone settling on any ambitions for the French Grand Tour until the Ardennes Classics have been dealt with.


“I don’t think that I will have another chance in my career to get an Olympic medal or even win it. It’s got to be an aim. It’s a great course for me and it’s a long race. It looks like Tokyo [in 2020] will be flattish so it is a chance of a lifetime. Why not go there [Rio] and think that it is possible? The Tour is a goal too but I never like to think about that until after the Ardennes. The Olympics are different because you need to start planning that now.”


“At the Tour, I felt better last year than I did in 2013. I felt really strong and then I got sick again. It’s something that we need to figure out because that’s three Tours de France in a row that I’ve got sick. Obviously, me, July and France don’t mix and that’s something we have to figure out.”



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