The Irishman will lead the ISN squad in the Giro d’Italia.
Martin’s first return to the Giro after his heartbreaking crash in Belfast
Martin: It feels like I am a neo-pro again
Tel Aviv. April 1st
Dan Martin will lead Israel Start-Up Nation in the Giro d’Italia this season, returning to the Italian Grand Tour seven years after his heartbreaking crash in the Giro’s time trial opener in Belfast back in 2014.
That edition of the race, which began with full-blown optimism and ended with despair, now serves as a painful memory and reminder that there is an account still waiting to be settled.
Martin: “It feels like unfinished business there as, well, I guess everybody knows the story. I arrived at the start in Belfast in excellent form and crashed out halfway through the TTT in stage 1. It was tough for me to watch the race that year, but I have always been a huge fan of the [Giro]. After completing it in 2010, it has just never fit with my goals or the team’s ambitions since then for me to be at the Ardennes classics and the Tour.”
But now the long wait is over, and ISN Team Manager Kjell Carlstrom explains what was behind the team’s decision: “This year’s Giro d’Italia should, on paper, suit Dan and his style of racing quite well, and it will be very interesting to see how things go as there are certainly many contenders,” explained Carlstrom, referring to the first Grand Tour of the season’s mountainous route profile – with six mountaintop finishes and seven hilly stages.
Carlstrom said that Martin’s success fighting for the GC in the 2020 Vuelta a Espana (where he finished 4th place overall) contributed significantly to the decision for him to take a similar role in the Giro. “Dan will be surrounded by a squad that can support him both on flat and hilly terrain,” said Carlstrom, who emphasized that Martin will also be fully expected to play a central role in the team’s lineup in the Tour de France. “We believe he can perform well in both Grand Tours,” he said.
Martin left no doubt about how excited he is to race in the Giro after that scar in Belfast: “The course looks good for the strong team who will start alongside me in Torino. I can’t wait for the opportunity to go for a stage win in Italy, and to try to complete my set of Grand Tour stage victories. Italy is a country I love with roads that I have enjoyed considerable success on. It feels like I am discovering a new race – like I’m a neo-pro again!”