Guillaume Martin will delay the start of his season by a week and miss the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var as he recovers from the effects of a crash in a training camp in Sierra Nevada in late January.
The Cofidis rider also revealed that his off-season had been affected by nagging knee pain, but he said that he would be ready for the Boucles Drôme Ardèche on the weekend of February 27-28.
"Certainly, these problems have had an effect on my preparation, but it’s gradually getting better and I’m managing to train properly," Martin said in a statement released by Cofidis on Wednesday.
"I’m going to do everything to find my best sensations, I hope to be in good physical shape for the Boucles Drôme Ardèche. Afterwards, I’ll participate in Paris-Nice and, based on my state of form, we’ll see whether it’s possible to go for general classification or a stage win."
Martin had travelled to Sierra Nevada in late January to train with teammates Simon Geschke, Victor Lafay, Fernando Barcelo and Pierre-Luc Périchon, but he told L’Équipe on Wednesday that his mileage was limited even before his crash.
"From the first training ride, the pain that had affected me in the right knee over the winter, in December, appeared on the left side. I spent two days off the bike," Martin said.
"When I started again, I felt things weren’t going too badly, and I was maybe a bit too euphoric, a bit too aggressive on the descent of a col. I was going quite fast and I slid on the last corner – Spanish roads are often quite greasy."
Martin suffered no fractures in the crash, but he did sustain "a very large contusion on one rib, a large haematoma on the left knee", and received two stitches to a wound above his eyebrow. He spent another day off the bike and was then limited in his training until the final two days of the camp.
"I continued to ride, but slowly, because I had trouble bending my leg," said Martin. "I wasn't able to ride at the same speed as my teammates, so I went into the valley alone and found relatively flat routes. It was only the last two days that I was able to go up the climbs, also on my own because the others had left.
"I gradually increased the volume of my training. On the last day, I did almost seven hours with 5,000 metres of altitude gain. The fact that both knees held up with so much climbing really reassured me."
Martin was due to start his season at the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var, which gets underway on Friday, but he will instead begin at the Faun-Ardèche Classic and Drôme Classic, where he placed third and fourth, respectively, in 2020. He may also add the Trofeo Laigueglia to his programme ahead of Paris-Nice. The Frenchman is subsequently scheduled to ride the Tour of the Basque Country, the Ardennes Classics and the Critérium du Dauphiné as he builds towards the Tour de France.
Martin is in his second season at Cofidis and L’Équipe reports that he will extend his stay at the team beyond 2021, with an announcement anticipated before Paris-Nice. He placed 11th overall in last year’s Tour, having sat in the top three until stage 12, and he also finished third overall at the Critérium du Dauphiné.
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