Froome and Martin are at opposite ends of this year’s Vuelta a España. The former two-time Vuelta champ is struggling to hold the pace, while Martin has won a stage and is enjoying Monday’s rest day in third overall at 30 seconds off the pace of Froome’s Ineos Grenadiers teammate Richard Carapaz.
Martin said he expects Froome to come out stronger from this Vuelta, and be a factor in 2021.
“The fact that he is even on a bike this year after his crash is amazing, and I think this Vuelta will do him the world of good,” Martin said Monday. “I can’t wait to race on the same team as him. His whole presence is just going to inspire everybody and lift everybody up again next year.”
Froome is leaving Ineos Grenadiers in a high-profile move to Israel Start-Up Nation, and Martin said he’s been in close contact with Froome ever since negotiations began this spring. The pair speak daily during the Vuelta and will race side by side in 2021.
“I talked to Chris about this team before he even signed,” Martin said. “He was asking questions about how good the team is, and obviously I encouraged him to come. Even this week we’ve talked every day in the peloton, obviously because of him coming into the team.”
Israel Start-Up Nation is undergoing a major makeover going into 2021. In addition to Froome, other new arrivals include Sep Vanmarcke, Daryl Impey, Michael Woods, and Patrick Bevin, among nine new riders. Exiting riders include Rory Sutherland and Travis McCabe, both of whom are retiring and Nils Politt.
Martin, who joined the debut WorldTour team this year on a two-year deal, said Froome’s presence will work to lift everyone inside the organization.
“I’m sure that the determination and passion that he has — after all that he’s won he is still hungry for success — is going to drive him forward to being successful,” he said. “When I signed for this team last year a lot of people questioned my decision, but I saw the ambition and believed in this project, and I think Chris has seen the same ambition that I have seen.”