The Vuelta a Espana resumed with a crucial time trial this Tuesday in Valladolid. Third overall before this tenth stage, Lenny Martinez mostly aimed to lose as little time as possible to his GC rivalsThe mission has been accomplished for the 20-year-old. After twenty-six kilometres of racing, he conceded 2’29 to the winner Filippo Ganna and 2’13 to Remco Evenepoel, taking 30th place on the day and only dropping to fifth place overall. Before another summit finish tomorrow, he sits 2’02 behind the red jersey Sepp Kuss. Towards the Laguna Negra in Vinuesa, however, he will no longer wear the white jersey.

Almost 26 kilometres were on the menu for the riders’ return to racing on the Vuelta this Tuesday, with an already important individual time trial for the GC riders. It was the only event’s race against the clock, and it was made for the big gears. “On the map, it looked very technical on the first part, but in the end, the whole time trial was made for the specialists, started Nicolas Boisson, the team’s coach. “It was really very fast course, even if the first part included some curves and this small hill (500m at 7%) which kind of stopped the momentum. Then, there were two long roads of 7-8 kilometres. Before the former red jersey Lenny Martinez took the start, shortly before 5 p.m., the entire Groupama-FDJ got onto the launch pad between 2:08 p.m. and 4:19 p.m. Romain Grégoire also took provisional tenth place when completing the course. “He didn’t go for it 200% but he did it properly,” said Nicolas. As for the others, we told them to do it easy. It’s not really our habit, but they gave a lot in the first week, especially with protecting the white jersey and the red jersey. They fought every day. After resting on Monday, this time trial allowed them to restart the engine. There is still a lot to doand let’s not forget that Romain, Sam, Lorenzo and Lewis are discovering a Grand Tour. Every little energy saving counts. It was important to seize this opportunity”.

“I was really scared of blowing up”, Lenny Martinez

In the running for the general classification, Lenny Martinez couldn’t afford this “easy day”. At 4:58 p.m., two minutes after the time trial world champion Remco Evenepoel, the young climber set off for 26.8 kilometres full gas. “With Lenny, we wanted to be in line with the previous time trials,explained Nicolas. “He has always had a lot of motivation to work on the time trial since the start of the season, and that’s why he has always raced them 100%. Today, he really implemented everything he has been doing in the past. He had to defend the white jersey and this place on the overall podium. The goal was to lose as little time as possibleOn a terrain that certainly didn’t suit him, he therefore crossed the first time check 1’05 behind Evenepoel, the second one with 1’40, and finally reached the finish in 30’08. That put him 2’29 from the winner Filippo Ganna and 2’13 from the Belgian champion. “I didn’t have a great day today, said Lenny. It was really hard, I didn’t have too much power, but I didn’t lose that much either. I was really scared of blowing upconsidering how I feltTo be between two and two and half minutes behind the world champion, that’s quite normal for fifty-kilo climber like meIn the end, it’s positive, because I really thought it was going to be much worse given my feelings on the bike.

“In terms of position, it’s his best time trial of the year”, Nicolas Boisson

Thirtieth in the stage, Lenny Martinez finished one position and two seconds ahead of his teammate Romain Grégoire. “Lenny gave 100%, like in all the time trials he has done since the start of the year,” added Nicolas. I think he did a very good performance. He didn’t lose that much on such a circuit. To finish 2’30 from one of the world’s best riders and 2’15 from Evenepoel in this particular time trial is really very good. The result is good, but his time trial is also greattechnically speaking. In terms of position, it’s his best timetrial of the year. He sometimes used to move a bit during the effort, while he remained quite stable until the end today. The big satisfaction is also that he is still in the top 5 overall after ten days of racing, a time trial and some echelons. Thanks to his performance, Lenny Martinez lost indeed only two ranks and his white jersey overall on Tuesday. He now sits in fifth place, 2’02 behind Sepp Kuss, still the leader of the race. Tomorrow, another summit finish looms. At the end of stage 11, the riders will reach the Laguna Negra in Vinuesa (6.5 km at 6.7%). “There won’t be many days when Lenny will be able to rest by the end of the Vuelta, but we said that we would tryand find out what it is to fight for the GC of a Grand Tour,concluded his coach. “If one day, it unfortunately goes wrong, too bad, but he will remain committed until the end.

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