Martin: I’m coming here to perform

For a man who has just completed the Tour de France, Dan Martin is looking remarkably relaxed and refreshed as he sits on his bike in the Olympic Village.

Sunday was an afternoon of pageantry in the centre of Paris, Monday a tedious combination of delayed flights and lost buses before he caught up on some lost sleep. Eventually on Tuesday, Martin was back to business, relishing a return to the open road and wherever it would take him on an overdue training spin.

“It is strange,” he admitted of the past week. “Sunday I was riding down the Champs-Élysées on my first Tour de France and then on Monday I arrived here for my first Olympic Games.

“It is the stuff that dreams are made of, two big events in a row. But I try not to look at it like that. It is a strange way to approach such an amazing event that people dream of coming to. I see everyone here is happy and smiling and delighted to be here whereas I am coming here to actually do something.”

Martin, who rode with Team Garmin-Sharp, was 35th out of 153 finishers on his inaugural tour. However, he quickly shoots down any plaudits that come in his direction.

“What I achieved in the last three weeks, in my opinion, pales into comparison with what I have done before. But the Tour is so much more known because of the media coverage and the fact that it is the Tour de France.”

Martin (25) won huge praise for his performance from his cycling peers and his 32nd place in Saturday’s time trial is certainly a huge boost coming into the Games. But did he enjoy the experience?

He ponders: “It was probably less enjoyable than I thought it would be because there was so much stress. It is just dangerous all day.

“There are people on the road, and you are just nervous of crashing all the time. I think that being sick also played a part in that because I enjoyed the last week a lot more because I was physically stronger so I was concentrating a lot less on how I was feeling and more on being in the peloton, the race and what I was doing.”

On Saturday, Martin, Nicolas Roche and Banbridge’s David McCann will contest the Olympic Road Race which will also feature Tour winner Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish.

“It is difficult to know who we will go because it is difficult to know what sort of race it will be tactically,” Martin admitted.

“My main aim is to show the jersey in the front, try and be in a few breakaways and try and make the race hard for the British who will probably be the favourites. They have five of the strongest riders in the race all working on the same team and everyone will be looking at them to control the race.

“There will be breaks going all over the place. It is just a matter of choosing the right one and hoping it goes to the finish.”

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