Tired but upbeat after a day taking in 4,000 metres of climbing and in which he came within seconds of a stage win and the overall lead, Dan Martin is still adamant that anything could happen in the Tour of Catalonia.
After the three most mountainous stages of the Tour of Catalonia, Martin is now lying second overall, just 15 seconds behind Alejandro Valverde.
On Thursday, the second-year Garmin pro. came painfully close to taking a stage win, his first at ProTour level. But after attacking alone six kilometres from the finish, Martin fell just six seconds short of catchiing early breakaway Julian Sanchez (Contentpolis-Ampo). After chasing Martin all the way up the climb, race leader Alejandro Valverde was third – and remains the leader.
?I was gutted I didn?t get the stage,? Martin told Cycling Weekly. ?By such a small gap, too.?
?At the foot of the climb I attacked with [Jose Angel] Gomez Marchante (Cervélo) and Vladimir Karpets (Katusha), then when they got us back I sort of hung off the front for a bit.?
?Then I went away again, and behind it must have spread all over the road.?
?There were a couple of kilometres where I wasn?t feeling great, and they must have pulled back quite a bit of time.?
?Finally, though I hung on for second.?
Martin agrees it?s important to be doing so well in a ProTour event, particularly one as difficult as Catalonia, although he says in terms of terrain and racing the Tour of Portugal last year, where he got tenth overall, was equally difficult.
So while he?d still settle for second overall when the race finishes on Sunday, he?s not ruling out going for broke, either.
?On paper I know it?s difficult,? the Garmin pro. told Cycling Weekly. ?The last stages are not as hard and I would never want to win a race through someone else?s bad luck.?
?But last year the race was lost on the last stage. A lot can happen in three days.?