Chased by Pandas: My life in the mysterious world of cycling

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Chased by Pandas: My life in the mysterious world of cycling

Chased by Pandas: My life in the mysterious world of cycling

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In his free time, Dan wrote a monthly column in Europe's greatest cycling magazine, Procyclin g, over an unusually long period, from 2008 to 2021. Weaknesses: At times the book comes close to dealing with darker aspects of professional cycling but backs off in favour of a warm and uplifting view of the sport He won Liège, he won Lombardia, he won stages in all three Grand Tours. The thing that I remember most about Martin is him being totally wiped out by Porte and showing no resentment for the fact. Dan Martin said no to British Cycling and even changed nationality to forge his own path, reinventing himself several times along the way to win two monuments and stages in all three grand tours.

Many anecdotes get a paragraph or two but could be a whole chapter although the hardback already runs to 300 pages.As an autobiography this book can’t explore what others thought but this unwitting pioneer angle alone makes him an interesting rider whose career spanned plenty, starting with the old-fashioned way of making his way to a French amateur climb in the hope of attracting attention via results in Europe. You look at Martin, though, and there’s no hint he’s a gourmand, there’s no hint he’s ever eaten a square meal in his whole life. I think it’s fair to describe Dan as more of a classics rider, his favourite race being Liege-Bastogne-Liege (La Doyenne), notably fifth in 2012, winning the race in 2013 and second in 2017. His time at UAE explains how much the team might have had more money but it was still the Lampre team underneath: an old fashioned squadra where things get off to a bad start with a clumsy bike fitting before he even pulls on the jersey. The time is the early 2000s, the place south west English midlands, not far from where Dan grew up, the scene a British Cycling seniors race, five or six laps of an undulating circuit with an off circuit hill finish, about 80/90ks, I was a veteran making up the bunch.

Many probably remember the video of him hobbling around, struggling to walk yet able to race on the bike. Though Dan also had successful rides in grand tour races and my feeling is he might have had even more success with greater support within his team(s)! I read in CN the excerpt about the way he left Vaughter’s team and it really raised several big question marks about the way that team was being managed and how did it change so much (did it?

The “sulphurous Tours de France (1999-2005)” and the “EPO decade” are more a small stain on the carpet than excrement smeared on the walls of the sport. Perhaps planning accounts for plenty, after all if you find a climb that suits, if you know you’re on form and are targetting mountain stages in the third week of a grand tour then the odds begin to narrow, all the same the confidence is notable.

His time at Quick-Step seems the best, one small anecdote goes a long way to explaining the “wolfpack” mentality: at the December training camp everyone sits down for dinner together, riders, mechanics, soigneurs all mixing. While Martin has spoken in interviews about how he “ almost got used to seeing cyclists being led away in handcuffs”, Chased by Pandas doesn’t go to those dark places. So instead of going to Lourdes like everyone in Ireland, that Pyrenean holiday saw him and his family going to Luz-Saint-Saveur, 30 kilometres south and a shrine of a different kind, situated as it is at the base of the Tourmalet.Dan is unashamed when it comes to exposing these dark feelings, his weaknesses and how he tried to deal with them, his attitude exemplifying Mark Twain's quote: "Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear".

The locals hang them to dry and on the outsides of their houses in the town of Espelette, which they’re named for and where the time trial was due to finish. Born in 1986 in Birmingham to an Irish mother and an English father, Dan Martin is the nephew of Irish cycling legend Stephen Roche. Team on the Run Ten years ago, a British team ventured forth from the safety of the provincial racing scene and tackled a Grand Tour.

A racer caught riding in a van during a stage race isn’t named, the commissaires eject the rider and conspire to say the rider was ill. One thing for sure you can say about him is there’s nothing wrong with his metabolism, he’s got a fully functioning Thyroid.

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