Daniel Martin’s Ardennes Classics hopes were curtailed when he ended up in the same crash as cousin Nicolas Roche (Ag2r-La Mondiale) halfway through the Flèche Wallonne last Wednesday.
“It wasn’t really his fault: his gears slipped – not for the first time this year – and someone rode into the back of me,” Martin told Cycling Weekly.
Martin’s helmet was broken by the impact of the fall. “I’ve never felt pain like it, all my weight went on my left shoulder,” he said.
Both riders withdrew from the race. “I hadn’t seen my cousin for six months and we ended up in the same crash, the same ambulance and the same hospital,” Martin said wryly.
Both avoided broken bones and are expected to take the start of Liege-Bastogne-Liege tomorrow, but Martin said he is hardly able to put weight on the handlebars.
The Birmingham-born Irish talent had been targeting the Ardennes Classics, but he played down his chances for tomorrow. “They’re beautiful races, but there’s nothing I can do with my shoulder. I’ll be riding for the other guys, I’ve got to be realistic,” he said.
He’s taking the start with some reluctance. When asked whether he’d have preferred to go home to Girona and rest, he replied: “Yes. I don’t need to ride Liege to tick that box, I don’t want to just ride it for the sake of it.”
Martin had already experienced problems at his last race, the Tour of the Basque Country. “My allergies were the worst I’ve ever experienced. The operation last winter [on his nose] wasn’t a case of getting rid of it, it was just trying to help me perform with it. It still comes and go,” he explained.
The 24 year old is still waiting for his first Tour de France ride, but he dismissed early talk of it. “I haven’t really thought about the Tour yet; it’s a case of getting the Ardennes out of the way, having a break and then looking at the rest of the season.”
With the injury, it remains to be seen whether Martin will start the Tour of Romandy, which starts on Tuesday, as provisionally scheduled.
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