Dan Martin (Cannondale-Garmin) finds himself in the frustrating situation where his legs feel fine, but his head seems dead set on stopping him from racing ahead of Liège-Bastogne-Liège on Sunday. Martin was one of the many fallers at Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday, coming down near the foot of the Mur de Huy. The incident occurred in the middle of the bunch when he touched wheels with Katusha rider Tiago Machado, and the force of the crash was enough to leave him with whiplash.
Martin has been left feeling “crappy” but has made the decision to race at Liège-Bastogne-Liège. “It’s a weird situation because physically I’m fine it’s just this whiplash thing that I’m going on,” he said at the presentation on Saturday afternoon. “Maybe it will get better or maybe it will get worse during the race, I don’t know. I’m just happy to be at the start. I’ve trained so hard to be at this race and to maybe be missing it was… we kept positive the whole time and we’re here at the start.”
Since winning the title in 2013, Martin has been the victim of bad luck. In last year’s race he was on course to defend his title but slipped on the final corner, putting him instantly out of contention. Martin hopes that this latest misfortune is the end of his troubles at La Doyenne.
“It’s full circle hopefully, so maybe it will be the end of it tomorrow,” he gave a wry laugh. “It’s just the way it goes, it happens. It was just pure bad luck on Wednesday, I was riding at the front of the race and I just got taken out. I’ve just got to make the most of it.”
Something for Martin to smile about will be the new course for 2015, which sees the important final climbs coming in much quicker succession than last year’s race. The parcours is similar to the one that Martin won on two years ago and the Cannondale-Garmin rider is pleased to see its introduction.
“I think the new course is great,” he said. “It should make for a really open and exciting race because there is no real time between the climbs for a peloton to reassemble and chase so it should lead to a lot of attacks and breakaways. It will make the race harder, which is also good, but that’s in a perfect world where I’m feeling 100 per cent so we’ll see how it goes.”
Another factor for Martin and his fellow riders to consider is the weather, with rain expected during the race. Very little rain has fallen in recent weeks and Martin believes that could be an important factor this Sunday.
“If it hasn’t rained for so long you have a lot of dirt and grease on the roads that doesn’t get washed away, so it could be really slippery because that makes the race harder.”
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