Dan Martin ‘confident and calm’ as he eyes up Tour de France GC challenge
Successful early season has eased pressure on Martin
Martin looked strong on the steep climb of La Planche des Belle Filles, following Chris Froome‘s attack, before launching a trademark acceleration to take second on the day, moving himself up to fourth on GC.
“It’s a climb that suits me,” Martin said as he sat in the road, gathering his breath a few metres after the finish line.
“I’m feeling good, the team’s great, confidence is good and I’m just super calm. I’m so relaxed in the peloton.
“Whatever happens happens there’s not pressure. If I don’t get results I don’t get results, that’s why it’s nice coming into the Tour with good results already this season. Everything that happens from now on is a bonus.”
So far in 2017, Martin has finished second in La Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, and hasn’t finished lower than sixth in GC at a stage race, including third in Paris-Nice and the Critèrium du Dauphiné.
Martin looked strong on the final climb, saying that after a long, hard day in the saddle he treated the steep final ramps of La Planche des Belle Filles similar to the Mur de Huy, the finishing climb of La Flèche Wallonne.
“It was a really hard day, deceptively hard with the heat as well. I really felt the heat on the final climb. It was that first heat for ten days.
“These roads are so heavy, you felt like you were glued to the road at times the stage also had one of the strongest breakaways you could ever see in the front so it was really fast all day which added to the difficulty. That suited me in the end.
“I just did my Flèche Wallonne technique on the climb. I just went for it.”