“I’ve been a professional since I was 19 years old – 1997 – I’ve never seen a team act like that, not in a one day race, not in a stage race, ever.”
Those are the words of David Millar, dissecting his Garmin-Sharp team-mate Dan Martin's Stage 9 win at the 2013 Tour de France in July.
The Scot was speaking in a video from Humans Invent that gives a rare insight into exactly how a team goes about targeting a Grand Tour stage and executes its plan to perfection.
The 27-year-old Martin’s first stage victory in cycling’s biggest race came in Bagnères-de-Bigorre, where the Irish rider outsprinted Astana’s Jakob Fuglsang in the last kilometre, having escaped the lead group on the final climb.
Jonathan Vaughters, Garmin-Sharp team manager, explains that the decision about which particular stage to target came following statistical analysis of each of the days’ riding.
Then, says Directeur Sportif, Charly Wegelius it was down to the riders to “be more daring and to take calculated risks in doing that and to risk everything... To get a green light... To do that is kind of a gift, I think.”
Supported by Millar, along with team-mates including Jack Bauer and Andrew Talansky, Martin embarked on the high-risk strategy, which Millar says could have cost them all the Tour.
But, says Martin: “We didn’t care about getting to the finish line even, we just wanted to have fun racing and just destroy the race, and rip the legs off all the other guys.”
Martin, forced out of the Vuelta when he suffered a concussion in a crash just 11 km from the finish line of Stage 8 last Saturday, is now focusing on his training for the world road race championships later this month.