Ireland's Dan Martin scaled Plan de Corones and into the heavens today at the Giro d'Italia. After 44 minutes, up a dirt mountain road, pitches up to 24 per cent, he enjoyed a panoramic view of the surrounding Dolomites.
His time in the 12.9-kilometre time trial put him in 20th place for the day and confirmed the 23-year-old's progression as a classification rider. Martin received congratulations for his effort from the thousands of fans that arrived to the mountainside via gondolas.
"It was awesome," he told Cycling Weekly. "That last kilometre just kills you, it is so steep, it is just unreal."
Organiser RCS Sport used the Plan de Corones for the second time, following the success of 2008. It is a particular climb, one that turns to a mountain bike trail after the first 7.6 kilometres to Passo Furcia.
"I love these kinds of things, but I paid from the weeks before. If I had hit it fresh like the prologue..." continued Martin.
"I was feeling comfortable in the first five K and I was going quickly. But at the top, the legs were just empty - it was just a case of survival. I was just trying to get up the thing, it wasn't a case of pacing myself at all."
Martin is currently 51st overall, but is thinking less about the classification and more about individual stage results. Ahead, there are three mountain stages that suit him: Peio Terme tomorrow, Aprica Friday and Ponte di Legno Saturday.
He is playing cool, though, and said that he is taking it day by day.
"Peio Terme? What's that?"
Giro d'Italia 2010: Cycling Weekly's coverage index
2010 Giro d'Italia coverage in association with Zipvit
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