Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) enjoyed a superb 2013, delivering on his undoubted potential by winning at the Volta a Catalunya, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and a stage of the Tour de France.
The Irishman endured a frustrating start to 2014 and a failure to finish the Amstel Gold Race didn’t bode well for the rest of Ardennes week – but Martin delivered a timely reminder of the threat he poses with a great ride to finish second at La Fleche Wallonne.
Beaten only by Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Martin’s podium place sets him up well for the defence of his Liege-Bastogne-Liege title. Ramanus Navardauskas, who looked strong in the break at La Fleche, and Tom-Jelte Slagter, whose impressive start to life at Garmin-Sharp continued with fifth place, both offer strong support to Martin.
As form goes, one swallow doesn’t make a summer, but the timing of Martin’s performance in La Fleche Wallonne shows he’s ready to face Liege-Bastogne-Liege head-on.