Giro d'Italia: Dan Martin's exit after crash 'heartbreaking', say depleted Garmin-Sharp
By Matt Westby in Belfast. Last Updated: 10/05/14 2:40pm
Dan Martin had been all smiles at the Giro d'Italia team presentation on Thursday
Garmin-Sharp have described Dan Martin’s early exit from the Giro d’Italia as “heartbreaking” and vowed to make him “proud” with their performances in the rest of the race.
Irishman Martin crashed heavily and also brought down three of his team-mates during Friday’s stage-one team time trial in Belfast.
The 27-year-old was unable to finish the stage and it later emerged that he had broken his collarbone. Koldo Fernandez, who was one of the other riders who fell, suffered the same injury and has also left the race.
It was a huge disappointment for Martin, who was riding in front of home fans and had been hoping to challenge for a place on the overall podium. Instead, he will now undergo surgery on the injury in Dublin on Saturday evening.
Garmin-Sharp sports director Charly Wegelius said: “It’s heartbreak for Dan in particular. We all know how much this meant to him, but that gives us motivation.
“We will keep fighting forward. These guys are not just teammates, they are good friends and we will all use this as motivation for the next three weeks to shake up the race and create opportunities for ourselves.”
Martin had been the co-leader of the Garmin-Sharp team going into the race along with Ryder Hesjedal, who won the Giro in 2012.
"I’m especially sad for Dan. I know how much it meant to him to be racing here, and how much this race meant to him."
The Canadian will now assume sole captaincy and be the focus of his team-mates’ efforts in the mountains, but he rued the loss of his team-mates so early in the race.
Hesjedal said: "You never want to see something like this happen. Right now, I’m just concerned for my team-mates, Koldo and Dan, and I’m especially sad for Dan. I know how much it meant to him to be racing here, and how much this race meant to him.
“But with that comes motivation for the rest of the guys here. We will regroup and refocus – we have a strong team here and we’re fighters.
"We will look for opportunities for the rest of the race and do everything we can to make Dan and Koldo proud. We may be down, but don’t count us out. These are moments that we will use as motivation to push us forward.”