Cofidis rider Guillaume Martin is ready to lead his team’s squad at the 2021 Tour de France.
The 27-year-old Frenchman almost won the first summit stage in 2020, and then occupied a podium place during the second week to put himself in contention for the overall prize.
However, a Stage 13 crash and problem with his bike on Grand Colombier meant he lost more than five minutes on the rest of the pack, and while he mounted a recovery he could only finish 11th in the Tour's overall standings.
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Speaking to Cyclingnews, Martin explained that he was pleased with his overall showing given the problems he encountered.
“I was pleased with the manner of it more than the final result,” Martin said.
“I was present across the whole three weeks, and I was in the top three overall for a long time. After that, there are imponderables, things that you can’t master, but that’s sport. I adapted as best as possible to those elements. I didn’t lay down arms when I had mechanical problems, for example.
“I was much more present this time, and you also have to say that it was a Tour with a much higher level than in previous years. All the best riders in the world were there, without exception, so that 11th place had more value, obviously, than an 11th or 12th place from the previous editions.”
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After an abridged and difficult 2020 season that was hit by the coronavirus pandemic, Martin is wary of looking too far ahead in the 2021 schedule.
Martin said: “There’s a sword of Damocles with possible last-minute cancellations, but we’re preparing and trying to be ready for the start of the season.
“And regardless of that, the work we’re doing now will serve us well later on. In any case, last year I saw that I was capable of coming back into form quite quickly after the break, so if the start of this season is a bit interrupted, it doesn’t mean I won’t be able to perform well in the summer or at the Tour.”
Similarly, Martin will see how the season unfolds before he firms up his targets for the Tour.
“It will depend on the form I’m in and on how the first week goes,” he explained.
“We’re still a long away, but on paper the course suits me a little bit less from a GC point of view, so for me it might be easier for me to race for stage wins or the polka dot jersey. We’ll see.”