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Stage 9 winner Daniel Martin (Garmin-Sharp) on the podium
Fernandez: “He took a knock on the head and you don’t muck around with those”
Volta a Catalunya, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and Tour de France stage winner Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) did not start stage eight of the Vuelta a España on Saturday as a result of his injuries from the crash on Friday’s stage.
A stage winner at the Covatilla climb in the 2011 Vuelta, where he also led the King of the Mountains competition, Martin was able to complete stage seven after losing over a minute as a result of the crash. He is the first big favourite to have to quit the race.
Taken to hospital on Friday evening and with more tests on Saturday morning, Garmin’s team doctor eventually opted for a non-start for the Irishman.
“We’re disappointed he’s had to go, but there wasn’t any other choice,” sports director Bingen Fernandez told Cyclingnews. “We’ve seen that he can’t continue and that’s it.”
“He’s beaten up all down the right hand side, got a very big knock on his hip, but it was the knock on the head that was the most important factor. You don’t muck around with knocks on the head.”
Martin’s crash came when he hit a reflector light or rut in the road - it is not clear. The impact wrenched his hands away from the bars and he went flying. In a fraught day for Garmin-Sharp, Martin’s accident came shortly after Tyler Farrar had punctured - “that had one good side, which was that the team car had already stopped to sort that out and we were heading back to the peloton when we saw Dan in the middle of the road” - and was unable to take part in the bunch sprint for third. Doctors reports that Nick Nuyens had also crashed were, fortunately, not true.
“This isn’t the end of his season by a long shot,” Fernandez said, “he’s still looking at the World Championships as one of his big targets.” But the Vuelta, though, will have to wait for another year.
Garmin-Sharp, meanwhile, will forge on at the Vuelta, hunting for stage wins. “It’s going to be a bit like in the Giro d’Italia, where we said goodbye to the GC when Ryder (Hesjedal, 2012 Giro winner) had to quit but then tried to see what we could do with the younger riders,” sports director Johnny Weltz told Cyclingnews.