"This is really a tremendously tough race" - Lenny Martinez bounces back from late crash to take victory at Mercan'Tour Classic 2024

Groupama - FDJ's talented youngster Lenny Martinez continues to prove himself as the future of French cycling with his fifth victory of the season at Mercan'Tour Classic 2024 on Wednesday afternoon.

"This is really a tremendously tough race," the 20-year-old Frenchman, who is reportedly on his way out of Groupama - FDJ at the end of the year, with a move to Bahrain - Victorious seemingly on the cards along with a massive pay rise. "On the final climb I very stupidly clipped another wheel, causing me to fall. So that was my own fault. Something like that rarely happens to me. Fortunately, it was only my first crash of my already quite long season. I looked at the damage, saw it wasn't too bad and got back on the bike. I had to do my utmost to get back up."

In fact, Martinez's crash was the first of two uphill crashes on the final climb of the day with fellow contenders Ivan Sosa and Guillaume Martin also clipping wheels and crashing down to the tarmac just a kilometre or so after Martinez's own incident. Once the Frenchman did return though, victory was for Martinez in a very impressive fashion also.

"We were with a small group, so it was difficult to get away from it. That made for a tactical situation. Some teams were with several guys. I was afraid of losing the team game, because it's hard racing against that situation," Martinez recalls of the finale. Eventually, he and Clement Berthet did manage to break free. "It was hard, but I still managed to get away. I told him we had to work well together. It would have been stupid to return from behind. It's nice to have a rider along who actually cooperates. I like his mentality."

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