/ Cycling

'Good day' for in-form Martin in Belgium

Updated: Thursday, 24 Apr 2014 13:32 | Comments

Spain's Alejandro Valverde just beats Ireland's Dan Martin (second from right) to the finish line at the Flèche Wallonne Classic
Spain's Alejandro Valverde just beats Ireland's Dan Martin (second from right) to the finish line at the Flèche Wallonne Classic

Dan Martin knew it was a 'good day' ahead of his second place finish in yesterday’s Flèche Wallonne Classic in Belgium and is feeling confident about the season ahead.

Martin finished strongly on the gruelling Mur de Huy climb to finish just three seconds behind winner Alejandro Valverde and Martin admitted that he knew he was in form when he hit the ‘Wall’ for the first time in the race.

Speaking to RTÉ Sport, Martin said: “I knew it was a good day because every year you hit the first climb and you have forgotten how steep it was. This year I hit it the first time and it didn’t seem so bad, so I knew it was a good day.

“It’s an incredibly steep climb, 25 per cent (gradient) in places. It’s basically just a drag race where whoever has the most horse power wins and unfortunately Valverde was that little bit stronger than me today but it’s fantastic to get second and shows that I am in really good form again.”

And Martin believes both himself and his Garmin-Sharp team are in a very strong position going into this weekend’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège race, where he is defending champion and looking to emulate compatriot Sean Kelly who won the race twice in the 1980s, and ahead to next month’s Giro d’Italia that starts in Ireland.

Martin added: “It’s all the best riders in the world in arguably their best form of the year and a lot can happen over seven hours of racing but conditions are good and we’ve got an incredibly strong team here and the atmosphere has been great and we’re having such fun in the team.

"We’re a young bunch of guys and we’re all enjoying out racing. And with my team-mate Tom (Jelte) getting fifth we’re going into the race with a big boost of confidence.”

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