Garmin's climbing prodigy Dan Martin has been removed from Garmin's Tour de France team after a bout of tendonitis of the knee.
The Irish rider was set to make his debut appearance in the Tour de France and would have provided invaluable support to Christian Vande Velde in the mountains.
"These decisions are always hard," said directeur sportif, Matt White. "The medical staff has done an outstanding job working with Dan but for his health and the benefit of the team, we have decided that Martijn [Maaskant] will start on Saturday. We had Martijn on standby and we are very confident in his form and know he will deliver for the team even with such short notice.”
Martin was upbeat about his bad luck: "Of course I would have loved to start the Tour, but I want what is best for the team. The medical staff and directors have been incredibly supportive, but at this point we’ve exhausted all of our resources. I wish the outcome would have been different, but Martijn is in great form and will be a strong replacement."
It will be Maaskant's second appearance in the Tour. "I know this has been a challenging situation," explained the Dutchman.
"Dan has been in exceptional form and to be forced out by injury right before the start is hard. But we’ve worked hard to position me as the alternate, and I will do everything possible to deliver good results for the team and especially for Dan."
The Tour de France begins this Saturday in Monaco.
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