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Martin packs Pais Vasco with eye on Ardennes

Posted 05 April 2012

Dan Martin has pulled out of the Tour of the Basque Country but remains on course to start the Ardennes classics in just over a week’s time with a clean bill of health.

The Garmin-Barracuda rider withdrew from the race before the peloton started the first of four climbs that made up the final seventy kilometres of the 151 kilometre stage from Eibar to Bera-Ibardin.

He started the six-day race without having fully recovered from the effort he put into securing fourth place overall at the Volta a Catalunya after sustaining a painful and discomforting back injury early in that race.

The 26 year old dug deep to achieve that particular result and started the Tour of the Basque Country with the objective of supporting his Garmin-Barracuda team for the GC while reserving himself for the Ardennes.

He provided support to Tom Danielson during the opening three stages but conceded more than six minutes on Thursday’s queen stage which included seven mountains.

“The Ardennes are tactical races and a lot of it comes down to who is the strongest man on the day,” Martin told Irish Pro Cycling.

“I am very excited looking to the Ardennes this year. Amstel Gold is the one that suits me and I will take the other two (Fleche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege) as they come,” he added.

“I have only ridden Amstel Gold once and on that occasion it was my first race after six weeks off. That was very much a learning experience, this time it is different and the race is also important recon for the worlds,” he said.

Amstel Gold takes place on Saturday, April 15 and Martin will use the intervening period to recover and prepare for the race where he is certain to be a marked man.

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