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by Neal Rogers
July 1, 2017
In today’s Daily News Digest: Boels-Dolmans wins opening team time trial at Giro Rosa; Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation announces anti-doping measures for Tour de France; Quintana: ‘The biggest rival is still Chris Froome’; Cavendish: ‘Sometimes following the right wheel is enough for winning’; Dan Martin: ‘I’m very optimistic about my chances’; Froome extends with Team Sky through 2020; Fuglsang extends with Astana through 2019; Bardet, Latour, Naesen extend with Ag2r La Mondiale through 2020; Trek, Specialized launch new road framesets on eve of Tour de France; Coryn Rivera extends with Team Sunweb through 2021; Wiggins hopes to compete in rowing at 2020 Olympics; Lance Armstrong launches daily Tour de France podcast.
Ahead of his fifth Tour de France, Dan Martin (Quick-Step Floors) met the press and spoke about his objectives. Martin didn’t hide his ambitions for another strong overall result; after placing ninth last year, the 30-year-old Irishman is confident the past experience can help him finish higher now, especially as in 2016 only six seconds separated him from seventh place.
“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,” he said. “I’m coming here without any pressure, but with a big confidence boost from my Dauphiné ride earlier this month. Actually, my entire season was strong and consistent, and I don’t think I’ve finished a stage race outside the top six. If I’ll keep that record intact by Paris, I’ll be happy.”
Podium finishes at Paris-Nice and Critérium du Dauphiné, together with runner-up finishes at Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, are Martin’s top results so far this season. He currently sits seventh in the World Tour individual classification.
“We are coming here with a strong and experienced team, one that can predict race tactics,” Martin said. “If you look over our squad, you can notice it’s very solid, especially for the first week of the race, which in the past used to be 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.
“The first stages could be tricky, but if I get through them without any bad luck and leave 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 GC 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.”