Throughout this week, we are looking back and celebrating seven magical moments for Israel Start-Up Nation in 2021, presented by Vini Fantini.
Like yesterday, today’s chosen moment is also from the Giro d’Italia this year. The day in question is May 26 when Dan Martin took a beautiful victory on stage 17. With the win, Martin also entered the exclusive club of stage winners in all three Grand Tours.
While the stage win itself was spectacular, the truly captivating aspect was the nail-biting fight between the now 35-year-old Irishman and the GC contenders, as Martin fought to stay away on the steep slopes of Sega di Ala.
In what might be perceived as an unjust fight against the top favorites, Martin had one crucial advantage on his side as he had already done recon of the climb a month earlier. He knew exactly what was awaiting him and how he should manage his efforts. Despite starting the grueling 10 km climb with just around two minutes on the peloton, Martin kept the GC riders behind him to cross the line first with his arms in the air.
Dan Martin: “Looking back, this is one of my most important victories but also a hugely proud moment of what we achieved that day. We knew it was one of the last opportunities to win a stage so we made a plan and it came off despite the gaps never being too big. I don’t think anybody believed that I could hold on but I just kept believing it was possible and rode tactically, monitoring the gap behind.
“When I did recon of the climb, I had a special feeling and I knew that it could be a special climb for me. Climbing solo on the steepest section with hundreds of screaming fans, for the first time since the pandemic, and then holding off to the finish and being able to really enjoy the moment. It was very different to my stage win in the Vuelta a España last year, when I didn’t even know that I had won! I will treasure this one.”
Seven Magical Moments for Israel Start-Up Nation in 2021:
Part 1: Mads Würtz Schmidt’s victory on stage 6 of Tirreno-Adriatico
Part 2: Alessandro De Marchi takes the pink jersey in Giro d’Italia