After another disappointing year, Martijn Maaskant (Garmin-Sharp) has lowered his expectations for the Spring Classics but thinks that with a injury-free winter, he can regain his best form.
Maaskant rose to prominence in 2008 with fourth place in his first attempt at Paris-Roubaix. The ride was backed up with the Dutchman taking the same position in the following season’s edition of the Tour of Flanders. However he was unable to reproduce the form in 2010 and in 2011 suffered a horrendous crash in Paris-Nice which left him missing the spring campaign with a punctured lung and several broken ribs. This year he returned to the fold but only regained fitness during this year’s Vuelta.
“I did the Vuelta this year and that was the first time I’ve been on a normal level ever since my crash in Paris-Nice a couple of years ago. I got through the Vuelta and we just have to see if I can be on the same level again but for now it’s going to be about having a good winter and if I can get that base then I have confidence of doing well again,” Maaskant told Cyclingnews.
“This year it took me a lot longer to come back than I thought it would. Then this spring I got sick and I wasn’t good in the Classics. I didn’t race Roubaix and everything was going wrong. The condition wasn’t good enough. Then I got sick again. It wasn’t a good year for me.”
Garmin-Sharp's Classics squad has gone through a number of changes in recent years but the 2013 line-up will include 2011 Tour of Flanders winner Nick Nuyens join, while Heinrich Haussler is leaving. With Johan Vansummeren and Nuyens assuming the leadership roles, Maaskant is aware that his automatic role could be that of support rider.
“There are some changes in he team with Nick coming in, and I think I’ll mainly be in a helping role for him and Johan next year. But you never know. If I’m in good form and things turn out to be good for me then I’ll have a chance to do something for myself.”