RENNES, France (CT) – He went close to a second career stage win when he finished fourth on stage three to the Mur de Huy. Now Dan Martin will try once again when he fights for victory on the Tour de France’s eighth stage on Saturday.
The Cannondale-Garmin rider believes that the Mur de Bretagne climb could well suit his characteristics and, having deliberately saved energy in recent days, will begin the 181.5 kilometre race from Rennes motivated to follow on from his 2013 mountain stage win.
“I am going to give it a go,” he told CyclingTips on Friday. “On paper it is a really good finish for me. We will see how it goes…I don’t know how it will play out.
“The other day [the stage to the Mur de Huy – ed.] the GC guys were attacking and that made it a bit of a different race. Hopefully this time I will be out of their thoughts.
“I can perhaps take advantage of them watching each other and sneak away and try to win the stage.”
Asked if that meant he could attack before the climb, he clarified that he would not make an early move. “No, it’ll definitely be on the last climb. The speed in the peloton is so fast that you have to wait. We’ll see what happens.”
Martin started the race as one of three protected riders for the team, but lost hopes of a top general classification finish when he crashed on stage four and was delayed.
Since then he has deliberately rode cautiously and conservatively, believing that his best chances of staying out of trouble lie in sitting towards the back of the bunch. While this has meant that he has been caught out by a couple of splits, he doesn’t mind.
“At this point losing a few seconds on GC is not really that important,” he said. “Staying out of trouble is the main thing. It’s crucial to stay upright.”
He believes it is crucial too to have the right mental approach.
“Normally by now we have got down into the mountains and things have calmed down a bit. But it is has been a definite stressful week and a tiring week for a lot of the riders,” he stated.
“I have managed to stay pretty chilled most of the time. Obviously not thinking too much about GC has definitely paid dividends and I have saved energy, I think.”
He’ll find out for sure on Saturday. If things go to plan and the climb is to his liking, the outcome is something that could turn his team’s Tour right around.