NÄSTA

TELEFONICA BLUE CO-SKIPPER RETURNS

Maj 04, 2009 @ 21:10:03   Foto Dave Kneale / Volvo Ocean Race

Iker Martinez, co-skipper of Telefonica Blue, with his offshore beard

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Iker Martinez has returned from his break and admits he cannot wait to get back onboard Telefonica Blue for the remaining four legs.

The Spaniard, who won Olympic gold in 2004, opted to skip leg six to recover from a schedule that saw him begin Blue's programme almost immediately after finishing his silver medal 49er campaign at the 2008 Games in Qingdao.

He returned to Spain and now, after a break of more than three weeks, he confirmed he is ready to return, starting with Saturday's in-port race in Boston.

"I feel good," the 31-year-old said. "It was very good to have a break. My motivation was fine, it is always high. But physically it was good to have a rest. I feel much stronger than in Rio, which is very good.

"I had quite a lot of work to do at home, but I had six or seven days of rest and it was a nice holiday.

"I really like this sailing and I like these boats. I will be very happy on Saturday when I am back on the boat."

In the time he was away, Blue endured some mixed fortunes. They led for the majority of the leg six race from Rio de Janeiro, but ultimately finished third. For Martinez, it was tough to watch from the land.

"It is quite difficult to see the guys from home," he said. "It was very good when they were doing well, so that bit was nice and relaxing. The last few days when the boats were so close made me a bit nervous, but it was nice to see the guys sailing well.

"I am really happy to be back. The plan was to rest for one leg and until Russia I will be sailing on the boat. Hopefully nothing strange happens like an injury, but if I don't have an injury I will be on the boat until Russia."

Martinez insisted the team, which sits 13 points behind Ericsson 4 on the leaderboard, would not give up their title fight until it is mathematically impossible.

"Hopefully we will do very well," he said. "We are trying to make the boat faster every day. Our goal is still the same and that is to win the race. That will stay the same until it is not possible to catch up. We will keep working."



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