Primoz Roglic’s push for victory in Paris-Nice suffered a significant blow when powerhouse rouleur Tony Martin crashed out of the race towards the end of the fifth stage to Bollène. The German rider is believed to have hit two bollards at the roadside, the impact sending him somersaulting to the ground and leaving him with “lots of pain in his elbow”, according to Jumbo-Visma directeur sportif Grischa Niermann.
“We don’t have any news on him yet, but he had a lot of pain in his elbow and we’ve sent him to the hospital to have a check-up,” Niermann explained at the stage finish. “Hopefully, he will be OK, but in the worst-case scenario he’s broken his elbow.”
Niermann added that the race doctor had carried out the concussion protocol on Martin following his fall.
“I now know it’s ‘what day is it today?’ and ‘count from one to four’, but there was no problem,” said Niermann. “Tony said straight away that he had a lot of pain in his elbow. He’s out of the race but hopefully, he won’t be out for too long. We need him.”
The Jumbo DS went on to explain the circumstances leading to Martin’s crash.
“He came around the corner and there were two plastic poles just after it. Our riders were somewhere in the middle of the peloton and the guys in front of him went around them, but Tony went straight into them.”
In the wake of a crash late on in stage 2 that left Jumbo climber George Bennett on the ground with a broken helmet, Niermann was critical of the organisation’s choice of route over roads with a lot of road furniture. On this occasion, though, he asserted that the incident wasn’t anyone’s fault.
“That’s life nowadays. It’s becoming more and more like this, especially with these poles and narrowings. It’s very dangerous for the riders,” he said. “I saw some points where they took the poles away, but at that point they didn’t. But you can’t blame anyone. That’s how the roads are today.”
Niermann was unable to give any details on any injuries that Roglic may have sustained when he fell on top of Martin, but the Jumbo leader confirmed after his yellow jersey presentation at the finish that he was unscathed. The Jumbo DS did acknowledge, though, that the loss of the German will make things more complicated for the Dutch team as they pursue overall victory.
“We’ll miss Tony in the coming days, that’s for sure. But we can’t change that. We’ll have to do it with six riders now,” he said. “We’ve got six very strong riders left and the other guys will have to do his work, which will mean a lot more work for Jos van Emden.”