Marc Madiot predicts early dominance by Pogačar in Tour de France

Groupama-FDJ’s team manager Marc Madiot has shed light on their unexpected decision to send the young climber Lenny Martinez to the 2024 Tour de France. Madiot believes the race will be decided within “three or four days,” allowing riders like Martinez to capitalise on the situation. Martinez, who will turn 21 during the Tour, will make his debut in the Grand Boucle alongside established GC leader and teammate David Gaudu. However, unlike Gaudu, Martinez will not be targeting the overall standings.

Madiot explained to L’Equipe that he expects leading GC favourite Tadej Pogačar to launch early, powerful attacks to overwhelm defending champion Jonas Vingegaard. Vingegaard, just returning after a long hiatus due to severe injuries from an April crash, might struggle to keep up. If this scenario unfolds, riders like Martinez, who aren’t aiming for the GC, could benefit from what Madiot referred to as ‘gift vouchers’ in the third week, as UAE controls the race and allows breakaways to go clear.

“The Tour will be over in three or four days,” Madiot told the French newspaper. “Pogačar will break things apart and blow out Vingegaard. In his place, that’s what I’d do to ensure he doesn’t regain top form.” He continued, comparing it to the Giro d’Italia where Pogačar dominated, stating they’d be “handing out ‘exit gift vouchers’,” meaning stage wins for breakaways in the final week.

Martinez’s Rising Form

This season, Martinez has been on an impressive trajectory. He clinched his first race of the year, the Classic Var, and followed it with five more victories, including the notable Trofeo Laigueglia 1.Pro race in Italy. He also secured eighth place in the challenging Strade Bianche. Despite his youth, Martinez has shown remarkable consistency in stage racing, from second in O Gran Camiño behind Vingegaard to seventh overall in the Volta a Catalunya and eighth in the Tour de Romandie.

Although Martinez faltered in the Tour de Suisse, finishing 33rd overall, he still delivered an encouraging sixth in the final time trial. Madiot noted that Martinez has raced 33 days in 2024 but hasn’t been overworked. “We got the green light from the doctor, who said that he had recovered, it was all going fine for him. He hasn’t raced so much,” Madiot argued. “He’s won a lot but he’s not raced so much.”

Originally, Martinez was set to compete in the Vuelta a España for a second time, a race where he made history last year as its youngest ever leader. Madiot mentioned in another interview with cyclismactu.net that Martinez is not completely ruled out for the Vuelta, stating, “We’ll take it step by step.”

Groupama-FDJ Team for the 2024 Tour de France

  • David Gaudu
  • Kevin Geniets
  • Romain Grégoire
  • Stefan Kung
  • Lenny Martinez
  • Valentin Madouas
  • Quentin Pacher
  • Clement Russo

Main photo credit: Getty

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