Ireland's Daniel Martin (Garmin-Transitions) was not among the 34 riders who finished the Tour of Lombardy but the bandages on his leg and hip explained why. Yet the pain did not dent his constant optimism and enthusiasm for racing.
Martin was expected to be a major rival for Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) after his impressive second place at last week's Giro dell'Emilia but his crashed ended any chance of repeating his excellent eighth place of 2009. He was one of the many riders who fell on the rain-soaked slippy descents.
"I think that was the fastest crash I've ever had," Martin told Cyclingnews. "It was on the run-in to Lecco after about 170km. I just touched the front brake and down I went. I'd just looked at my computer and I was going at 68km/h. I don’t think I've ever slid for that long either…"
Martin only suffered some road rash and bruising but it ended his race. Tom Peterson was the only Garmin-Transitions rider to finish the race. However few teams had more than a couple of riders in the results, while some totally abandoned the race because of the terrible weather and hard terrain.
"I'm not really that disappointed. The important thing is I'm okay," he pointed out.
"With the weather being so bad, it wasn't going to happen for us. It’s a disappointment but you can't change the weather. The guys did a great job and even waited for me and made sure I was okay. That shows the team spirit we have."
Martin had an excellent second part of the season, winning the Tour of Poland UCI ProTour stage race and the prestigious Tre Valli Varesine one-day race in Italy.
Those results helped ease the disappointment of a frustrating spring, when an allergy stopped Martin ever reaching his maximum heart rate. He has since seen a British allergy specialist and will undergo minor surgery on his nose during the winter to help his breathing.
"We got there in the end but the standing memory is the frustration at not being at my best for a big chunk of the season," he said. "But hopefully we can find out what caused it and get it sorted out during the winter."
"I'm going to have an operation to take out an extra bone in my nose. Hopefully I'll be able to breath through my nose next season. That might make a difference…."
Before ending his season and undergoing the operation, Martin will ride the Japan Cup next weekend. It is a long way to go for the last race of the season but he is looking forward to it.
"It's a long way to go but I'm actually looking forward to it. I've never been to Japan and I want to see what it's like," he said.
"The course of the Japan Cup suits my style, so who knows I might be able to end my season on a better note. Any result will be better than crashing out at speed in the cold and rain."