Dan Martin says 'cycling is not worth the risk' after losing six minutes to Egan Bernal on gravel of Giro d'Italia 2021

The Irishman didn't want to take the risk with riders crashing all around him on the first section of gravel

Dan Martin on the start podium at the Giro d'Italia 2021
(Image credit: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

Dan Martin says that it wasn't worth taking the risks needed to stay with the front group on the gravel of stage 11 in the Giro d'Italia 2021.

Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) lost over six minutes to the pink jersey of Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) and slipped out of the top 10 in the general classification on the road to Montalcino. 

The Irishman spoke to GCN after stage 11: "I told my wife this morning that I won't crash, so for me personally cycling is not worth the risk.

>>> Simon Yates says riding Strade Bianche earlier this year helped him on stage 11 of the Giro d'Italia 2021

"I had guys crashing all around me on the first section [of gravel] so I just did my own pace, I nearly came back but my licence is road cycling so it's not my thing. Fair play to the guys who are at the front, but I just didn't want to take the risk today and that's it.

"The cycling fan in me thinks this is a beautiful stage but yeah it was on an unpredictable road surface and I don't have much experience on that particular terrain. No excuses just didn't feel like taking the risks."

Martin now sits 18th overall after dropping 10 places in the overall standings, leaving him 7-06 down on Bernal in pink.

Martin said: "Personally, I was a bit too relaxed. Everyone was battling for positions; I got a few pushes and lost my head for a while. My team-mates did amazing by bringing me back to the second peloton, from there we nearly bridged the gap to the front."

Stage 12 heads back to the Apennines where the race takes on another tough hill stage that takes on four categorised climbs over the 212km stage from Siena to Bagno di Romagna and plenty more days of racing to gain back some time.

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Tim Bonville-Ginn

Hi, I'm one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!

I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.

It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.

After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.

When not writing stories for the site, I don't really switch off my cycling side as I watch every race that is televised as well as being a rider myself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager. Maybe too regular.

My bike is a well used Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on my local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being my preferred terrain.