Dan Martin will participate in Liège–Bastogne–Liège this weekend aboard a specially painted bike, with a design that marks the now iconic moment in 2013 that a fan dressed as a panda bear ran alongside the Irish man on the final climb of the race, as he duelled with Joaquim Rodriguez.
Martin went on to win the race, and since that encounter with the panda bear he hasn’t been able to shake the association, though perhaps he sees it as a lucky charm now? He certainly seems to have embraced it. Fittingly, as Martin hopes to win the race for a second time, Specialized has created a special paint job called the “Emerald Panda”, a tribute to Ireland (often known as the Emerald Isle) with a Panda adorning the top tube.
The Specialized Tarmac frame has a white base coat with a special green pearl top coat depicting four-leaf clovers and a band of Ireland flag colours, a nod to Martin’s national championship wins.
"I really like the design of the bike. It's cool, the paint job is subtle but perfect. I was a bit surprised when I learned Specialized was making this bike, but now I am happy because it just brings me good memories. I am sure that during the entire race on Sunday I'll be thinking of when I won. This time, it'll be me chasing the Panda”,commented Dan on receiving his new bike.
Aside from the custom paint job, the bike is very much a standard build with a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupset, Roval carbon wheels, FSA seat post, stem and traditional bend handlebar, and Tacx bottle cages.
Here's a video of that race and the panda bear incident.
David worked on the road.cc tech team from 2012-2020. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes.