Procycling

PRO DIARIES

DAN MARTIN

ISRAEL START-UP NATION

Every year I am subject to the same question in the run up to July. Stage hunting or GC campaign? To which I generally reply, “Why can’t I have a crack at both?” I have always found this approach to racing over three weeks easier mentally as you set goals for each day, aim to be aggressive and try to win a stage and then see the GC competition as a bonus, a way of taking the pressure off. Win a stage early and the race is already a success.

It is, however, becoming more and more tricky to take this approach. Many stages of the 2019 Tour de France were decided from long range breakaways, as GC teams preferred not to gamble energy on chasing to win a stage but to focus on the goal of success in Paris. It is also difficult to get much freedom when you are high up on GC, as the riders around you defend their positions. Say you are in eighth, then sixth, seventh and ninth have an interest to chase you down, and that’s before the Ineos juggernaut decides to tighten the leash, something that I have found increasingly frustrating. It speaks volumes that I am so renowned for my attacking style, as it perhaps shows how conservatively the Tour is raced by

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