'I've set a record no-one is talking about': Dan Martin has ridden four Grand Tours in 10 months

The Irishman and Spaniard Pello Bilbao both share a unique cycling record

Dan Martin
(Image credit: Getty)

Providing Dan Martin safely crosses the line in Paris today when the Tour de France finishes, he will have completed his fourth Grand Tour in just over 10 months.

The Irishman raced last year's Tour that began in late August, the Vuelta a España that terminated on November 8, and then this year has competed in the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France.

His hectic schedule has been fruitful, too: he picked up a stage and finished fourth at the Vuelta, his best-ever finish in cycling's greatest tests, and then this spring won a stage at the Giro to join the exclusive club of riders to have triumphed in a stage in all three Grand Tours. 

He jokingly moaned that "I've set a record that no-one is talking about or knows" after stage 20 of the 2021 Tour de France, referencing his achievement of riding 81 stages in 323 days. 

However, Pello Bilbao, Bahrain-Victorious' rider, has eclipsed him, clocking up 84 stages in the same time frame, for the Spaniard rode last year's 21-stage Giro d'Italia, and not the 18-stage Vuelta.

Either way, Martin is proud. "It hasn't been pretty!" the Israel Start-Up Nation rider laughed when asked about it by Cycling Weekly.

"Last year looked after itself with Covid and it made it easier. Not easier, but possible. 

"Before the Tour last year I had two weeks off the bike because of a back injury and I came into the Tour super-fresh and came out of it flying at the Worlds and then flying again at the Vuelta.

"We looked at the courses of this year's Grand Tours, and realised that the Giro suited me and I wanted to continue my hunt of winning a stage in each of the three Grand Tours.

"We then figured out that the Tour was a good idea because of how I was at the Worlds after last year's Tour.

"I felt good in training, but in all honesty the Giro took a lot out of me. The fatigue got to me in this race and I had some up and down days, some good days and some really bad days.

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"But because I've been riding without that pressure, I'm mentally fresher and in the last few days I feel a lot better.

"At Luz Ardiden [on stage 18] I felt great. They were the best legs I had at the Tour and on Friday I was thinking, 'right now my body feels really great'."

Martin will fly to Japan after the Tour and lead a three-man Irish team in the men's road race on a mountainous course that favours his style.

He added. "I need to rest now, and then will try to do something in Tokyo.  Looking at how well I came out of the Tour last year, it's good to know."

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Chris Marshall-Bell

Chris first started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2013 on work experience and has since become a regular name in the magazine and on the website. Reporting from races, long interviews with riders from the peloton and riding features drive his love of writing about all things two wheels.

Probably a bit too obsessed with mountains, he was previously found playing and guiding in the Canadian Rockies, and now mostly lives in the Val d’Aran in the Spanish Pyrenees where he’s a ski instructor in the winter and cycling guide in the summer. He almost certainly holds the record for the most number of interviews conducted from snowy mountains.