Dan Martin completed the 2017 Tour de France with fractures to two of his vertebrae. The 30-year-old Irishman was unaware of the fractures that came as a result of crashing on stage nine of the race and said the delayed diagnosis was a ‘surprise’.
Martin (Quick-Step Floors) was descending the Mont du Chat when he was caught in a collision with Richie Porte (BMC). Both riders landed heavily, and although Porte abandonded the race immediately due to his injuries, Martin remounted and carried on.
Martin then rode through a gruelling final week in the Alps, often staying seated during climbs due to the pain he was suffering. He finished sixth overall – his highest ever Grand Tour placing – four minutes and 42 seconds behind winner Chris Froome (Team Sky).
Martin’s Quick-Step Floors team announced on Thursday that a post-Tour medical examination revealed that Martin had fractures to the L2 and L3 vertebrae in his lower back.
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“During the Tour I didn’t have any problems when racing, but off the bike I wasn’t feeling very comfortable, so this week I did a scan and got the news,” said Martin, who has now been forced to withdraw from starting the Clásica de San Sebastián on Saturday and rest for three weeks.
“It’s a real pity I won’t ride San Sebastian, because the legs were there and it’s a race I like, but fortunately this injury isn’t something to worry about.
“In order to tackle my future goals in good condition, it’s better to take a break and give the fracture time to heal. There’s nothing else I can do, just rest and then build up for the final part of the season.”
Martin later said on Twitter: “Diagnosis of 2 small fractures took me by surprise. Shows how powerful the mind is in pushing through. No wonder I couldn’t stand up straight”.
Martin’s Tour de France team-mate Jack Bauer replied: “Just a 6th place in the @LeTour GC with 2 fractures in his back. No biggy. Strong bro, real strong!”