"Those first few days it was also quite nice not to be involved with the stress," says Dan Martin. "I think everybody underestimates how much energy you save not being in that fighting position every day in the front and not being involved in the sprint finishes. Yeah, hopefully, it pays off."
Dan Martin is at the Tour de France for a stage win, which would be Israel Start-Up Nation's first. His Tour starts on stage eight as the race enters the Alps and finishes on stage 18 when the peloton conquers the Pyrenees. It's mountain stages or nothing.
"Everything has gone to plan so far, which has been a bit boring, to be honest," Martin laughs. " Because I've just been not racing. It's a new experience for me, racing the Tour like this, just saving as much energy as possible. It's strange, not having that mental concentration [that comes] with being in the GC fight all the time."
Martin spent the first week staying out of trouble and getting the legs going after the Giro d'Italia, where he won a stage. Now, with the race finely poised and, on yesterday's evidence, Ineos and Jumbo-Visma seemingly unwilling to bend the peloton to their will while UAE Team Emirates being unable to, there should be ample breakaway opportunities.
Martin said he had a look at potentially going on the offensive on the Mûr-de-Bretagne stage but didn't have the legs, and was going to see yesterday whether he could try something but didn't fancy burning his matches before these first two proper climbing days.
"There are a lot of mountain stages in this race so it's possible the breakaway goes to the finish," Martin adds. "Probably my Tour starts [on stage eight] and finishes on stage 18. We'll see what we've got."
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