Stage set for Martin as ace plots Italian job in the Giro
Daniel Martin will be the only Irish representative in the 101st edition of the Giro d'Italia which starts today. He will more than likely opt out of participating in the Tour de France in July, because of the short gap between the two events.
He had been pencilled in to make his debut in the greatest cycling event in the world.
But the Giro itself will allow Daniel to make a worthwhile contribution and make his mark on the big stage.
Two seasons ago, he won the Route du Sud as a 21-year-old first-year pro. Last season he placed second in the Volta a Catalunya and finished in the top 10 in the Giro di Lombardia, marking him out as a major talent for the future.
Hopefully he'll now make another big step forward as a top-class professional.
The spring classics are over and that means the first grand tour is upon us. Amsterdam is the setting for the start of the Giro d'Italia.
That means that in the span of 12 months, Holland will have played host to all three grand tours. Last September, Assen was the start of the 2009 Vuelta a España while the 2010 Tour de France will start in Rotterdam on July 3.
The Giro will kick off with an 8.4km opening time trial, the first of three stages in Holland before the Giro returns to its home turf.
Of course, in these modern times, what would a grand tour be without the obligatory pre-race doping scandal?
During the week, one of the favourites, Liquigas's Franco Pellizotti, had his name deleted from the start list because the numbers in his blood profile -- part of the UCI's Biological Passport programme -- were deemed "abnormal".