EF Education First were forced to pull Daniel Martinez out of the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah before Monday's prologue time trial after the Colombian climbing specialist and recent Pan American time trial champion arrived in Salt Lake City suffering from illness.
"He was not feeling good. He was sick," EF Education First director Fabrizio Guidi told Cyclingnews. "We tried the maximum with our staff to let him start, but it's actually not possible, it's not possible, not possible."
Martinez reportedly arrived in Salt Lake City at 2 a.m. Monday morning after competing in the Pan American Games last week.
"It was already two days to try and get him ready to start," Guidi said. "Having him at 80 per cent was OK, but that actually was not possible, so he's flying out tomorrow."
Martinez was the team's likely general classification rider after Tejay van Garderen was scratched from the original provisional roster. The team's current five-rider roster still includes two former Utah champions in Joe Dombrowski  and Lachlan Morton , but Guidi said it remains up in the air as to which rider the team will support for the GC.
"We have to think a little bit about the race," Guidi said. "We are five. We have no more our GC leader, but I think we have also a strong group of riders who are ready and motivated. We'll see what happens today and then think about the GC.
"Joe is feeling good, and Lachlan also," Guidi said. "I still have a lot of confidence in my group, even if we are only five and and even if we race in an unusual situation, but I am confident, and also them."
Monday will provide the first climbing test for the riders, as the 5.3km prologue at Snowbird Resort starts with a 3km climb and a correspondingly fast descent to the finish.
"Today is a good test," Guidi said. "The climb is difficult, and it should show already something. Of course, the race is one week, but today is really important. Just go full gas."
Martinez, who is in just his second season with the team, started off 2019 with a win at the Colombian time trial championship, then went on to finish third overall at Tour Colombia 2.1. He won a stage at Paris-Nice and was 20th in Lèige-Bastogne-Liège.
The 23-year-old broke both hands in a training crash in June and missed the Tour de France, but he returned triumphantly at the Pan Am Games. Now he'll turn his attention to the Vuelta a España, which starts August 24 in Salinas de Torrevieja.
Growing up in Missoula, Montana, Pat competed in his first bike race in 1985 at Flathead Lake before studying English and journalism at the University of Oregon. He has covered North American cycling extensively since 2009, as well as racing and teams in Europe and South America. Pat currently lives in the US outside of Portland, Oregon.
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