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With the first weekend of the 107th Tour de France complete, Dan Martin of Israel Start-Up Nation and Sam Bennett of Deceuninck – Quick Step give their opinions as to how the opening two days have gone for them and their respective teams.
Bennett’s teammate Julian Alaphillipe claimed yesterday’s first mountain stage of the Tour and took the yellow jersey in the process. According to Carrick-On-Suir cyclist Bennett this has taken some of the pressure off.
“I think for the team as whole it takes the pressure off,” he admits, before reaffirming “but I still have a lot of pressure on myself (to win a stage).”
Now that his French team leader wears the yellow jersey, tactics may change for the Deceuninck – Quick Step team.
“I think it just means that we sit back a little more, let the other teams control it more for the sprints as we have a stage now” says Bennett. “We can’t work for the yellow and go for the sprint stages so the other teams are going to have to pull their weight a bit” the Flanders-born Irish rider explains.
Dan Martin of Israel Start-Up Nation, a team that debuts in this year’s race, is targeting a stage victory in 2020 rather than the General Classification, though he has finished top-10 three times in the Grand Boucle in his career.
The opening two stages, according to Martin, have “gone to plan so far (despite the Irishman losing a lot of time on Sunday). We wanted to stay safe and ride into the race. Our ambitions were realistic coming into the race considering the severity of my injury just two and a half weeks ago and the missed training before the start.”
Having crashed in recent weeks in the Critérium de Dauphiné, his preparation race for the Tour, Martin is delighted to just be in the race. He admits to feeling better than he expected and hopes to improve over the course of the three-week Tour:
“I’m actually feeling better than I expected so looking ahead to stage opportunities further into the Tour” says Dan Martin, “It’s a strange approach to the race after so many years riding for GC (General Classification) but I’m enjoying it and hopefully my condition and the injury improves enough to really be aggressive in the second and third weeks.”
Sports News Ireland will have stage reports each evening during the 2020 Tour de France.