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World time trial champ to heal hand injury in view of Olympics
Team Omega Pharma-QuickStep has confirmed the expected abandonment of world time trial champion Tony Martin. The German will leave the Tour de France on Tuesday's rest day in Mâcon, due to a fracture of the scaphoid bone of his hand sustained on stage one. Martin held onto the race until stage nine's time trial on Monday, where he finished an honourable 12th despite the pain and a rear wheel puncture in the first kilometres.
"It's difficult for me to step out of the Tour and leave my teammates here to keep on fighting," Martin said. "But it's the right thing to do now, and I know that even the guys will understand. I will go home and I will try to recover as much as I can. I don't want things to get even worse going into the mountains. I cannot imagine sitting in the back of the peloton suffering every day a little bit more as I did during this week. I really tried, but now it's time to think about my complete recovery.
"I have still three weeks before the Olympics. I know that it won't be easy, but I will do all my best to be in good shape for the Olympics," the 27-year-old added, confirming that he is still focused on the London Olympics time trial as he had announced earlier in the season.
Team doctor Helge Riepenhof supported the German's decision. "From a medical point of view, it is now time to give the scaphoid fracture a chance to heal. We also have to avoid further issues to his body because of being limited in his movement while wearing a brace. This is the only possible decision to be able to perform at the London Olympics without damaging structures such as the lower back or knees," he assessed.