Martinez Returns

Photos from the Peaks Epic – Invitation II “The Revenge”, which happened yesterday are now up on the site here. Thanks to Rick Sykes for organising it and everyone else who was there, it was a classic Peak District ride.

Next year’s Mountain Bike World Cup scene could be a bit more lively now following news that French star Miguel Martinez is returning to off-road competition. This is from Cyclingnews:

France’s Olympic mountain bike champion Miguel Martinez has put a definitive end to his career as a road racer. The 28 year old Martinez explained in an interview in Saturday’s l’Equipe that he gave road racing a chance for two seasons, but has decided to devote himself to his first love, mountain biking. The 2004 Olympics in Athens remain his number one goal. Martinez rode for Mapei-Quick.Step in 2002, followed by a season with the Phonak Hearing Systems this year.

Martinez underlined his preference for an individual riding style, which he felt was not available in the peloton on the road. After a season of learning the ropes with Mapei, the expectations for results at Phonak were not matched by the freedom to ride his own races.

“I found myself in a situation that I didn’t like,” Martinez said. “I was only capable of being a simple teammate. I would have liked to have had my own card to play, to test myself on my own terrain, the mountains.”

Martinez is honest about his abilities on the road, and at the same time reveals that he was “born to win”, and victory was something he never achieved on the tarmac, something he desperately misses.

“Above all, the feeling of a victory, of raising my arms and sensing the excitement of the crowd,” he said. “In two years on the road, I never felt that pleasure… In fact, I think there are too many constraints on the road for a rider like me.”

Martinez’s only regret is not having fulfilled his goal of winning the king of the mountains prize in the Tour de France. His 2002 Tour will remain his only ride at the Grande Boucle, as Phonak was not selected for the 2003 race.

Moving ahead, Martinez is dabbling in cyclo-cross this winter, but with no serious ambitions. He will focus on the 2004 Olympics, and even hopes to remain competitive until the 2008 games in China. Martinez will not likely remain in Phonak colours as he heads back off road.

“I asked Phonak if my riding the mountain bike season in their jersey would interest them, and the answer was a timid yes,” he explained. “So, I went looking elsewhere, to Commençal Oxbow. My decision was made: I’d never go back to the road.”

Author: Cris Bloomfield

Usually mountain biking in the North.

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