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Mathieu van der Poel isn’t the only “superstar grandson” racing in the WorldTour.
Along with Romain Grégoire, the junior European champion, the French team confirmed the signings this week as both 19-year-olds are poised to make the next step in their respective careers.
“I am very happy to join the WorldTour team. I will have passed all the stages with the Groupama-FDJ team, after the juniors program and the conti, it is in continuity,” Martinez said Thursday. “I feel good in the team, together we are not going to skip the stages and I will continue to progress. I learned a lot this year, especially about teamwork, whether it’s helping my leaders or being a leader myself and benefiting from the work of team members.”
Lenny Martinez : pic.twitter.com/0C1jOby61d
— Équipe Cycliste Groupama-FDJ (@GroupamaFDJ) August 3, 2022
Cycling runs deep in the family
The 19-year-old Martinez is the son of Miguel Martinez, who raced both in mountain biking and road during his career starting in the 1990s.
Dubbed “Little Mig,” Martinez won Olympic gold in mountain biking in the 2000 Olympic Games. Now 46, Martinez also raced with Quick-Step and Phonak in the early 2000s, racing in the 2002 Tour de France where he finished eighth in a stage during a breakaway.
The Martinez clan has deep cycling roots. Martinez’s father Mariano was a pro in the 1970s and 1980s, and won two stages at the Tour de France, and won the King of the Mountains jersey in the 1978 Tour. His uncle Martin and brother Yannick were also pros.
This season, Lenny Martinez was third in the “Baby Giro” and won the U23 Giro Ciclistico della Valle d’Aosta-Mont Blanc.
Like his family pedigree, Lenny is a pure climber. He also raced in the Tour of the Alps this spring, finishing 14th overall, and will race the Tour de l’Avenir later this month.
“I am a climber, I like when the races are difficult with a series of passes and steady rhythms,” he said. “I won the general classification of Val d’Aosta this year, it validated the good results I had in the mountains.
“I was also able to compete in several races with the WorldTour team and rub shoulders with Thibaut Pinot and David Gaudu. In particular, I hope to be able to help David Gaudu in the mountains for the next few seasons. He works hard, it’s motivating”
The move is another one of cycling’s family traditions in the peloton.
Van der Poel’s father, Adrie, was also a top pro in the 1980s and 1990s, and his brother, David, is also a pro. His grandfather, of course, was Tour de France legend Raymond Poulidor, who died in 2019.