Martinez returns in Fleche Wallonne after road rage assault

'Small moments' to make the Amstel Gold Race for EF Education First-Drapac

21-year-old Daniel Martinez will make his return to competition at La Flèche Wallonne after recovering from a concussion sustained in a road rage attack last month.

The Colombian was assaulted by a driver while training in Spain last month after gesturing at the driver for overtaking his group too closely. The driver stopped, jumped out of the car and punched Martinez in the jaw, knocking him out and causing temporary amnesia.

The EF Education First-Drapac squad are expecting an unpredictable Amstel Gold Race, with Sep Vanmarcke hoping to continue his strong run of results.

Vanmarcke has two podium results - third in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Dwars door Vlaanderen - and a sixth place in Paris-Roubaix so far, but team director Tom Southam says any little mistake can cost riders in the unpredictable Dutch race.

"Amstel is really hard. Those climbs and tiny roads are hard. They come at you all day," Southam described in a press release. "With these races, it's not as obvious as the cobbled classics. These are like a slow burn. I feel a bit sad they're under-appreciated.

"The level is really high. Small moments are really decisive in these races. It's not glaringly obvious, it's not breaking up all over the place — that kind of attracts me. You can't expend effort at the wrong time. You want to wait for the last possible moment. These races can change really quickly. It's easy to think they're formulaic, but they aren't. They're gruelling and hard. Any small mistake you make you're going to have to pay for."

Vanmarcke will take a break after Amstel, which he will start together with Matti Breschel, Lawson Craddock, Alex Howes, Logan Owen, Rigoberto Uran and Mike Woods.

Uran and Woods will lead the team for La Flèche Wallonne, which ends atop the beastly Mur de Huy ascent. Alejandro Valverde has won the past four editions of the race, while Woods finished just outside the top 10 in the past two editions.

Lawson Craddock, Alex Howes, Kim Magnusson, and Pierre Rolland complete the roster.

EF-Drapac for Amstel Gold Race: Matti Breschel, Lawson Craddock, Alex Howes, Logan Owen, Rigoberto Uran, Sep Vanmarcke, Mike Woods.

EF-Drapac for La Flèche Wallonne: Lawson Craddock, Alex Howes, Kim Magnusson, Daniel Martinez, Pierre Rolland, Rigoberto Uran, Mike Woods.

Related Articles

Back to top