Dan Martin - keeping it in perspective
Team Garmin-Sharp's Daniel Martin is a man of many talents.
“I went to my first bike race when I was two or three weeks old,” Daniel Martin tells Roadcycling.com. Cycling runs deep in Martin’s family. His uncle is Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, and former road race World Champion Irishman Stephen Roche. His cousin is Saxo-Tinkoff Bank’s Nicolas Roche. His father Neil Martin rode for the British national team. It’s with this type of background you can understand how baby Daniel was watching his first bike race while still in diapers.
“I’ve grown up with cycling my whole life and in a household where it is everywhere: magazines, television, my father was doing it. It was only natural that I’d progress into that sport.”
“I grew up in an environment that taught me how to be professional. It’s normal to eat healthy, go to bed and rest and not go out partying. It’s the way my life has always been. It’s a way of life and that helps immensely.”
With a cycling pedigree such as that you’d expect Daniel to have a leg over a bike and a number pinned to his back by the time he could stand. That wasn’t the case.
“I just love riding my bike,” explains Martin. “They (his family) are understanding on how difficult this sport is. That’s why there was no pressure to race because they know how difficult it is and how much you need to enjoy it first. Racing comes afterward.”
“I really didn’t start training until I was in the junior ranks. I did a bit of racing but it didn’t really interest me. In England there isn’t a whole lot of under-16 racing with mountains or climbs. A lot of racing is on short circuits and criteriums. I couldn’t win. I’m quite competitive, even at school. I did every sport as a kid – played football, ran a lot, but it was a lot easier to turn to cycling and that’s why it happened.”
While the 26-year-old’s cycling career is on a steady upward trajectory, there have been dips in the road. In 2009, his second season as a pro, he was scheduled to line up at the Tour de France. However, a knee issue occurred and he was pulled from the Tour roster just days before the start. Instead he made his Grand Tour start in that year’s Vuelta a España, finishing 53rd.
A head injury almost scuttled his 2012 Tour. With 34 kilometers remaining in stage 1 of the Critérium du Dauphiné, Martin hit a roundabout sending him crashing to the ground. Remarkably he not only remounted to finish the stage, but also completed the entire stage race.
Martin was able to rebound from his injuries and was selected for the 2012 Tour de France finishing in 35th place on the overall general classification.
The Garmin-Sharp rider is coming off of a great start to his 2013 season taking the overall, as well as winning the Queen stage in the Volta a Catalunya. Included on that list of winners is fellow Irishman Sean Kelly. While the title sponsors may have