Irishman finds freedom to bring focussed aggression at UAE Team Emirates

PAMPLONA, Spain (VN) — Dan Martin enjoyed a lot of highs in 2018 — including a stage win at the Tour de France and birth of twins — but the best view of the season was from the Tour podium.

Martin’s unrelenting attacking posture not only delivered stage victory at the Mur de Bretagne, but earned him the unexpected honors of the Tour’s most aggressive prize.

“It meant a lot to me. When they told me I won I got really emotional,” Martin told VeloNews. “It’s an elected prize, not one you win on merit. It meant a lot to me to have that respect and to have that admiration in the way I ride.”

Martin, 32, added another honor to his already impressive palmares that includes two monument victories — Liege-Bastogne-Liege in 2013 and the Il Lombardia in 2014 — as well as stage wins in the Tour and Vuelta a España.

“I am generally attacking to try to win. It’s not just the aim to be aggressive,” he said. “There is an aim behind each and every attack. I analyze each situation and I try to use my head to get the timing the right. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but it got me that prize.”

“I’ve had a lot of second places and close calls,” he said. “It was amazing to stand on the podium in Paris. It’s very cool. It meant a lot.”

The Irishman made the move to UAE Team Emirates in 2018 and it seemed to loosen Martin up and the way he races. Martin felt unbridled and enjoyed attacking when the moment felt right.

“After the Tour my morale was so high,” he said. “I was really enjoying just racing my bike. That’s a feeling that sometimes you can lose. I hope to keep that going.”

And what’s next for 2019? To keep it going, of course.