Tour de France: Irishman Dan Martin could be named Garmin-Sharp team leader
Last Updated: 26/06/13 9:58am
Dan Martin: Could be rewarded for a good season with Garmin-Sharp
Irishman Dan Martin could be named a team leader when Garmin-Sharp reveal their Tour de France line-up later this week, ahead of 2012 Giro d'Italia winner Ryder Hesjedal.
General manager Jonathan Vaughters has selected his team for the Tour, which starts on Saturday in Corsica, but has yet to publicise it.
After Hesjedal struggled in defence of his Giro title earlier this year, Liege-Bastogne-Liege winner Martin has been tipped to be given a prominent role for the historic event in France.
Charly Wegelius, sports director for Garmin-Sharp, has given the Birmingham-born rider his backing, insisting that Martin potentially has all the tools required to lead the team.
"Dan can do everything you need to do to perform in stage races," Wegelius told reporters. "(But) three-week races are a whole different kettle of fish.
"He's got massive potential and it's up to him now to explore that potential - I don't think anybody really knows how far he can go yet. He's in quite a luxurious position.
Wegelius believes the experience the 26-year-old gained by riding in the Tour last year has helped him to step up further this season.
"Dan had a chance to taste the Tour de France for the first time last year and I think that impact for him will put him in good stead for the future. The way he's ridden over the spring has really taken him to a whole different level as a rider," he added.
"That potential has always been there, but an athlete goes to another level when they prove to themselves that in a competition environment that they can do it. That level of self-confidence can really help.
"For Dan, he can live with the knowledge he's won big races already. Physically he's coming into a good stage in his career and mentally he's in a really good place at the moment."
An exchange between Vaughters and David Millar on Twitter has also led to speculation that the veteran British rider may not be included in the Tour line-up.
Wegelius refused to talk about team selection but had words of encouragement for the 36-year-old Scot.
"Physically he's still in really good shape, but as you get older and your life changes things can start to look a bit different," Wegelius said of Millar. "If he wanted to I think he could continue for a long time."