Ireland’s Dan Martin heads Garmin-Transitions at the Flèche Wallonne today in Belgium. He is part of a two-pronged attack for the American team with Canadian Ryder Hesjedal, second at Amstel Gold.
“Morale is sky high after Amstel,” Martin told Cycling Weekly. “It was a great performance and really big for Garmin-transitions. It just gave us confidence that he can be in the finale and I can as well.”
Ryder was the best of the rest after Belgian Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) attacked on the Cauberg and rode solo to win.
Martin placed 14th overall in the Criterium International last week and 15th in the Tour of the Basque Country last week. He joins the team for the last two of the Ardennes Classics, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège Sunday.
Flèche Wallonne is a ‘short’ mid-week classic, taking in 198 kilometres but ending feared Mur de Huy. The ‘wall’ in the city of Huy is only 1300-metres long, but has slopes of 25 per cent and an average of 9.3.
“I am getting better and better because in the past years I was never able to do the steep stuff. País Vasco really helped me with its steep climbs, after those, even the Mur de Huy does not even feel steep anymore. On that last day at País Vasco, we had what seemed like a 32 per cent climb!”
Though Martin is a little “blocked” by his allergies, he reckons today suits him over Sunday’s 258-kilometre classic.
“Liège is a bit long for me I think.”