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Martin stays on track for Lombardy

Posted 14 October 2010

Dan Martin remains on course to start Saturday’s Tour of Lombardy as one of the race favourites despite abandoning today’s Giro del Piemonte which was won by Philippe Gilbert for the second year running.

Martin (Garmin Transitions) started the 194 kilometre race in Northern Italy but decided to pull out at the midway point to save himself for the ‘Race of the Falling Leaves’ where defending champion Gilbert has once again installed himself as the man to beat.

“I started today but the plan was always to abandon at the feedzone. It was too much to do a 200 kilometre race so close to a 270 kilometre race like Lombardy,” Martin explained.

“I didn’t feel too bad today which had a very fast start and riding was a whole lot better than sitting about a hotel. I’m trying not to put on weight as well. It’s all a delicate balancing act for Saturday because it’s definitely ‘go time’,” the 23 year old added.

The 152 riders who started the race covered the first 51 kilometres in one hour as the Katusha team did all of the work to control and then recapture an early seven man break.

A six man break involving Oscar Pujol ( Cervelo Test Team), Tony Gallopin (Confidis), Sonny Colbrelli (Colnago-CSF Inox), Elia Favilli (ISD-Neri) and Androni-Giocattoli riders Alessandro De Marchi and Luca Solari (Androni Giocattoli) slipped away soon after.

The opened a lead of 8’40” only to surrender it all having veered off course before the final climb with just 30 kilometres to go. The peloton had passed them by the time the mistake was realised.

Alexandr Dyachenko (Astana) and Vladimir Gusev (Katusha) attacked with 10 kilometres to go but were never allowed to gain more than 14 seconds by Gilbert’s Omega Pharma Lotto team.

The Beligan launched a trademark attack inside the final kilometres and soled to an impressive victory ahead of Leonardo Bertagnolli (Androni Giocattoli) and Matti Breschel (Saxo Bank).

Martin said afterwards that he has never felt better heading into Lombardy and that he is in a very relaxed frame of mind even those his strong end of season form has labelled him as one of the big race favourites.

“I am not thinking about that too much. I am super relaxed, the whole team have all been super relaxed. There’s a really great atmosphere among the squad here. They are trying to keep me relaxed to go and do the job on Saturday and I will go and do my best, which is all you can do,” he said.

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