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Irish pro Dan Martin has conceded that it may be difficult to gain selection for this year’s Tour de France, stating that a limitation on how soon he can compete after his collarbone injury means he will miss the Tour de Suisse and thus be short of racing.
Speaking to CyclingTips in recent days at the Cycle4life charity ride he is patron of, he said that the final decision will be made by the Garmin-Sharp team closer to the event and that he is uncertain of his chances.
“Being honest, I think the Tour de France is going to be difficult because with the injury, I can’t race until six weeks after the operation,” he said, referring to the collarbone surgery he had on May 11th. “That would mean going to the Tour with just the national championships in my legs.
“We’ll see how the fitness is going and who knows – we will leave that book open at the moment. It is the Tour so everybody wants to go there. But obviously everybody needs to go there in the best condition possible. So it is the team’s decision, and we will make that closer to the time.”
Martin would normally be one of the team’s strongest riders for the event. He won a stage there last year and looked to be in line for a top ten overall finish, but then slipped further back due to illness. He nevertheless left the event certain that he could return as an overall classification contender; if he does ride this year, the lack of racing would mean he would likely target stages rather than the GC.
The 28 year old rider was co-leader of the team in the Giro d’Italia, sharing top billing with 2012 race winner Ryder Hesjedal. His race lasted approximately fifteen minutes, though, with a crash in the team time trial sending him to the ground and leading to the first bone fracture of his career.
He was operated on two days later and said that his shoulder is ‘nearly 100 percent.’ He has been training on the road for over two weeks and was able to line out alongside hundreds of fans at Saturday’s Cycle4life event in North County Dublin.
It has been held for the past three years and raises money for the Temple Street Children’s hospital.
Martin said that he is confident that his shoulder issues will be fully behind him soon. “I am definitely going to make a full recovery and will hopefully be back winning races in no time,” he stated.
“I think my next race will be the national championships. I haven’t ridden for a couple of years now but it is difficult when you are riding the Tour de France to ride the nationals. This year I definitely want to ride and try to win the green and white jersey. It was a really special season when I wore it in 2008/2009.
“To wear the green of Ireland in every race, all year round, would be incredible. It is definitely a big aim. Obviously I will be a bit ring rusty after not racing for eight weeks. But we will see. I will give it my best shot and I will try to be national champion this year.”
Whether or not he rides the Tour, he has a clear target in mind for later this season. It is likely he would use the Vuelta a España to build up for the worlds in Spain, where he lives, and has time to get into peak condition.
“Being world champion would be an incredible way to finish off what has been a bad year so far,” he said. “Hopefully good luck is going to come my way. The world championships this year is on a really good course for me and hopefully it will put a bit of a positive spin on these crashes at the start of the year.
“It will mean I will be a lot fresher than anybody else come September and I will give it my best shot of being world champion.”
In the video above Martin speaks about his targets and also talks about the Cycle4life initiative and being able to give something back to those who supported him when he was injured.