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Martin determined to reclaim national title

Posted 24 June 2010

Dan Martin has declared his intention to reclaim the title of Irish national road race champion on Sunday even though he will start the race as one of the most marked men in the peloton.

The Garmin Transitions rider has spent this week preparing for the race in the Dublin and Wicklow mountains and is confident that he has recovered well enough from the Giro d’Italia to outclass his rivals.

“I would not have come back if I was not thinking of winning. I really enjoyed my year in green (2008) and it was only when I had to race without the jersey that I realised just how special it was. Now I want it back,” he told Irish Pro Cycling.

Martin knows that his cousin Nicolas Roche is equally determined to hang onto the national champion’s jersey which is now one of the most recognised in the peloton thanks to the AG2R La Mondiale rider’s consistency in races.

“Nico has spent last week racing against the best in Switzerland and with his selection for the Tour de France he will be desperate to win again and to take the jersey back to France. We both realise how special that is so there is going to be something of a family battle there,” he said.

Martin was quick to highlight that Roche is not the only man to beat and he expects that the home based riders will have an advantage to counter the strength and endurance that himself and his cousin will bring to the race.

“The nature of racing here is very different to the continent. The speed is slower but it’s stop-start, stop-start. That is what makes it so difficult. Myself and Nicolas have the advantage of our strength but we are not used to that style of racing and the other riders also know the roads here,” he said.

“David O’Loughlin (An Post Sean Kelly Cycling Team) is going very well. He showed in last Friday’s Belfast criterium that he can stay away on a fast circuit. He was in nearly every break. David is always good in the nationals.

“He is the perennial strong man. The An Post team will work hard for him and anyone of the An Post riders could win. They are also coming home from racing in Europe and will have the strength that that brings.

“David McCann (Giant Asia) is also going to be tough. A lot of people forget about him. People underestimate how difficult the racing in Asia is and he is winning a lot of races there this year. He’s won in the past and he can do it again,” he said.

Martin recognises that his dominant performance in last Saturday Halford’s Dublin criterium where he almost lapped the entire field will not have gone unnoticed by anyone taking to the starting line on Sunday but does not believe that he may have showed his hand too early.

“I will be a marked man every year from here on. It doesn’t matter what I did last Saturday. Because of my status and team I am always going to be classed as a favourite for the nationals. It is an added pressure to cope with but I enjoy it and it’s nice to be considered as such.

“Sunday is going to be a tactical challenge. Hopefully the circuit is hard enough that I can use the strength that I have built up. Physically I have recovered from the Giro but mentally I’m tired and I’ve not had a break since December.

“I’m going to take a week off after the nationals so it’s going to be one last throw of the dice on Sunday. I’m definitely going to give it my best shot,” he declared.

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