Three months after the heartbreak of his Giro d’Italia stage one crash in Belfast, Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) is set to start his second Grand Tour team time trial of the season in Jerez on Saturday.
Martin’s disastrous crash, which cost him any hope of an overall challenge just weeks after he was cruelly denied a second consecutive Liege-Bastogne-Liege win by a similar fall, saw the Birmingham-born Irishman miss the best part of two months’ action.
But, having returned at the Tour of Austria and Clasica Ciclista San Sebastian, Martin appeared to be back on top form as he finished third overall at the Tour de l’Ain.
The 28-year-old’s climbing ability is undoubted, and while his team are yet to confirm his targets for the Vuelta, he is likely to be a contender in the mountains.
Martin is one of a number of ‘other’ riders capable of mixing it with the star men overall and he could also be a serious contender for the polka dot jersey.
Consistency in the mountains could well put him in contention, particularly if he can recover the form which saw him enjoy his best season to date in 2013.