Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) marked his return from injury with a fine fourth place finish at the Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt on Tuesday. The German had sustained fractures to his cheekbone, jaw and eye socket after he was struck by a car whilst training near his home in Switzerland on April 12.
Less than three weeks later, however, Martin was back in the saddle in Frankfurt, and he admitted that he was himself surprised to have performed so well on his comeback. He sparked the winning move with an attack 45km from the line and his contribution helped the four escapees hold off the peloton behind, even if he couldn’t track Moreno Moser’s (Liquigas-Cannondale) acceleration in the final kilometre and had to settle for fourth place.
“I had already felt pretty good in training the last few days, but I didn’t expect to do so well,” Martin said, according to radsport-news.com.
In the finale, Martin admitted that he had expected Dominik Nerz to be the danger man rather than his Liquigas teammate Moser. “I was concentrated on Nerz’s rear wheel, I hadn’t expected that Moser would be the one to attack,” he said. “I thought he would lead out the sprint for Dominik.”
Although Martin is still feeling the effects of some of his injuries – “Luckily the sun made my energy bars softer, because I’m still finding it hard to eat,” he quipped to Het Nieuwsblad – he was pleased with his return to action on home roads.
“My performance probably has a lot to do with motivation,” he said. “This is my home race and I had a lot of support. My family was there, and I had a lot of friends and fans cheering for me. It’s simply great fun to race here, and I’m delighted that I was able to be at the front.”
Martin’s Omega Pharma-QuickStep team has enjoyed a remarkable run of victories in the early part of 2012, even if he has yet to get off the mark himself since his move from HTC-Highroad during the off-season. The world time trial champion has long stated that his primary targets for the campaign are the Tour de France and London 2012 Olympics, and he confirmed that he was still on course for both events.
“In any case, I can tell everyone who was wondering if there was a question mark over my participation in the Tour and the Olympics that I’ll be there, well-prepared and highly motivated.”