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Martin primed for Fleche result

Posted 20 April 2010

Dan Martin believes that he has the form to be a surprise package at Fleche Wallonne and to potentially pull off another big race result in the mid-week Ardennes classic.

The Garmin Transitions rider was brimming with confidence when the spoke to Irish Pro Cycling having completed a training ride on the last 40 kilometres of the course.

“I have been thinking about Fleche Wallonne for a long time. I really enjoy it and it suits my ability,” said Martin, explaining that he skipped Amstel Gold so as not to “spread myself too thin” for the Ardennes Classics.

“I prefer Fleche to Liege. I like the way it rolls and the climbs are just right for me. I’m really aiming to do something tomorrow (Wednesday). In a one day race you need a lot of luck and good legs. That is why I love these races so much. It is really a game of chance.

“Fleche Wallonne is a beautiful race. Hopefully it is a race in which I have many, many years to get a result and hopefully this year’s race will be the first year that I get that result,” he said.

The Irishman arrived in Liege after a marathon fourteen hour car and train journey from his home in Girona and did not reach the team hotel until after midnight on Monday.

Although the journey was much less of an ordeal that his hay-fever alleries which, he said, had affected his form in recent weeks.

“With the hay-fever allergies I have, I’ve been a bit up and down and not able to perform to what I know I’m capable of. I couldn’t breathe and it was taking my top end away. 

“Historically though I’m good at this time of year. Every year I’m getting better and the races coming into May, June and July are the races that really suit me. It’s starting to happen now with the hilly one day races and I’m really coming into form.

“The Basque Tour went well and I have been doing some motor-pacing and a bit of work on steep climbs. Everything has gone to plan in preparation for Fleche and Liege with the exception of a volcano erupting in Iceland,” he said.

Martin expects that he will have a relatively free hand in Fleche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege rather than riding in the service of teammate Ryder Hesjedal who rode superbly to claim second place in last Sunday’s Amstel Gold.

“Everything depends on the day. Ryder is a great rider and he has really great form right now. He was on great form at the Basque Tour but I was also good. It all depends on what happens on the day. If anything Fleche suits me better than Liege, being a shorter race.

“We can really help each other just by being there. Being there on your own is harder than being there with two. We bounce off each other and we help each other and being able to do that gives us options and cards to play.

“I’m very happy and relaxed going into this race and I’m looking forward to giving it a go. There is always a great atmosphere at Fleche Wallonne and the finish is what it’s all about,” he said.

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