Talented young climber Dan Martin had a superb first year as a pro. So what can we expect in 2009 from the Garmin pro? Well, for starters, his ever first ride in a team time trial, on day one of the race.
?My first race will be Tour of the Med. and we should have a strong team there,? Martin told Cycling Weekly.
?On a personal level, I don?t really know what to expect, but the team time trial is a big objective for the team, and it?s my first taste of a pro TTT. Should be interesting!?
?After that normally I will do the Tour of Murcia and the Tour of Castille y Leon, meaning a low-key, no pressure start to the season, but with quality racing miles and a few time trials as practice. Hopefully the weather will be sunny.?
Martin has been training in Silver City in New Mexico, which he describes as the ?perfect place for a training camp.?
?Our base has been at 6,000 feet, with climbs going up to 9,000 feet all around us.
?There?s a variety of training routes, little traffic and being a desert it is usually dry and sunny. Riding in shorts in January is always nice.
?Plus there is literally nothing to do but ride and recover. We have had a really nice reception from the locals, it?s just a shame it?s in the middle of nowhere and took me four flights to get here.?
The food, according to Martin is just what pros should be eating all year. ?We have a chef here cooking a super healthy diet, it?s all organic and that helps keep it varied and high quality.?
With team time trials playing a key role in the Tour de France this year, Martin and the rest of the Garmin riders have been dedicating a lot of their time to perfecting their technique.
?It?s basically been split between team time trial training and long rides with lots of climbing. [Team coach] Allen Lim keeps the training interesting and varied with different intervals and exercises, almost like team building on the bike, but of course the physical effort is also there.?
On at least one day, Martin?s training ride included 3,000 metres of climbing in just over five hours. But after such a long trip to the States, he played it cautiously in the first few days.
?I was very careful not to overdo it in the first three days. I was the only rider to have come from Europe so adjusting to the altitude and time difference takes it out of you.?
Martin now heads to the wind tunnel on February 2, before coming back to Europe and the Tour of the Med. Year one of his pro. career could hardly have gone better, but he?s clearly determined to raise the bar even higher in year two.