It’s hard to hide when you won the Tour du Val d’Aoste (2.2U) after taking 3rd place in the Giro Espoirs (2.2U), and this as soon as you entered the under-23s. After a totally successful first part of the season, Lenny Martinez is one of the big favorites of the Tour de l’Avenir, which starts this Thursday from Vendée. “Everything is possible. I go on every stage race to win, does he announce to DirectVelo. There are guys from the WorldTour at the start, they have more experience. There are hopes older than me. A podium would also be a good result. If I have the legs I want and I don’t win, it doesn’t matter”.
Legs, the Conti Groupama-FDJ rider had some at the beginning of the month during the tricolor reconnaissance course. In each pass – the Madeleine, the Toussuire or the Iseran -, he impressed as soon as the slope reared. “I don’t feel too bad. I feel a bit tired from the Baby Giro and the Valle d’Aosta. After the French Championship of the Future, I will lighten the training a bit and recover to be well on the Tour de l’Avenir”. he confided from the base camp located in Saint-François-Longchamp, in Maurienne (Savoie)
“NOT AT ALL STRESS”
The Tour de l’Avenir will be the last major objective of his season. “With the Baby Giro and the Val d’Aoste, these are the three races I was aiming for this year. The first two have passed, only this one remains“. And if he has the same success as in Italy, he should not be far from winning on August 28 next to Villaroger (Savoie). “Before the mountain, we shouldn’t waste too much time. You never know if you fall. It rubs a lot but it doesn’t scare me. Like all expectations around him.
Lenny Martinez knows it, he will be very watched for ten days while France has been waiting for David Gaudu’s successor since 2016. “I read a little what is being said, it’s not too bad overall, he smiled. I’m not tense at all. Since I have already made a success of the start of the season, I hope above all to perform for the team”. On social networks, the Nivernais was able to read that he was, according to some enthusiasts, the future French winner of a Grand Tour. “I am happy when I read this. Some say “no in chrono, it’s complicated”.
However, the recent 5th in the French U23 Championship knows that he is capable of coping well with the clock. “At the moment I’m only 51-52 kilos. David (Gaudu) was also the same weight when entering the pros. Now he’s 58. Normally I’m going to gain muscle and power. I won’t win in time but I’m working on it as I hope to do well in the general classifications. I improved in training in terms of power”.
“IF I CAN HELP DAVID…”
For Lenny Martinez, David Gaudu is the example to follow. The two riders will meet again next season in the Groupama-FDJ WorldTeam. The proposals of the biggest foreign teams have not yet failed. “I had at least five WorldTour teams that I had contact with. I was happy that there were plenty of teams asking me. I had a choice, it’s always nice”. But he therefore chose to remain faithful to a structure that accompanies him from the Junior ranks. “I feel good in the team. I have already made the bridge with the WorldTeam, I know what to expect this season. I don’t have too many worries for next year. In the mountains, for example, it should be fine”, said the 8th in the Mercan’Tour Classic (1.1) and 14th in the Tour des Alpes (2.Pro).
The 19-year-old climber lives and eats a bike. He likes to talk a lot about training, with his eyes shining as he imagines his future. “I do bump drills. The goal is for me to hold my threshold longer and longer. With these watts, when I arrive in the race, I can be not too bad. In several years, I want to try to win with the pros. Next year I think I will be there to help in the mountains. Maybe I’ll get my chance a few times. If I can help David (Gaudu), if I step aside and there are only ten riders left, it will be great fun. David is 25, I’m 19. I still have six years to reach his level. There is still time”. But Lenny Martinez is used to being ahead.