Dan Martin begins his quest for Paris-Nice tomorrow as he spearheads his new team UAE Team Emirates. Along with Martin, the high quality team will include riders from Norway, Italy, Australia and Britain.
Partnering the Irishman will be Norwegians Sven Erik Bystrøm and Alexander Kristoff, the Italian pair Rui Costa and Oliviero Troia, as well as Australian Rory Sutherland and Briton Ben Swift.
Speaking ahead of the first major European race of the season, Martin said:
“I’m feeling good heading to Paris-Nice. In Algarve I had good days and bad days but was the perfect way to get the legs and body going but also to start working with my new team mates, both riders and staff.”
Looking ahead to the World Tour race in which he finished third on the podium last season, the new UAE Team Emirates rider stated:
“Paris-Nice is one of the hardest races on the calendar because there is no easy day. The race can be lost every day as we saw last year. On paper the first stages seem easier but then there is the possibility of bad weather and crosswinds. Of course the TT and mountain top finish on stage 7 will see the biggest time gaps and the race will be won there, but what makes Paris-Nice hard is the concentration and endurance to not lose the race on the other stages, but also save enough energy to be good when it counts.”
Martin will be hoping to emulate his uncle Stephen Roche who won Paris-Nice in 1981, and his fellow Irish rider Seán Kelly who won the event the following seven years from 1982-1988, but admitted:
“I’m definitely back this year to contest the GC but of course need to survive the first days and then we will see the situation after the TT.”
Dan Martin will be joined in the 76th edition of Paris-Nice by fellow Irish cyclists Nicolas Roche (BMC Racing Team) and Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe).
The Paris-Nice World Tour race, which begins on Sunday with a 135km flat stage from Chatou to Meudon, will continue until Sunday March 11th.
Eurosport will broadcast daily live coverage as well as evening highlights.