To be a good time triailist (TT) is a different challenge than it is to be a good road racer. Tony Martin is both a talented road racer and an incredibly gifted time trialist., writes Jerome Glavin.
Nicknamed the “Panzerwagen”, the German has stood atop the UCI Individual World Time Trial podium an incredible three times. Add to this stage victories at; Tour de France, Vuelta a Espana, Dauphine-Libere, Paris-Nice, Criterium du Dauphine and overall victory at the Eneco Tour, Tony Martin is no stranger to success.
Known for his courage and determination, Martin is the engine of his team. In the UCI Team World Time Trial he was the main force that hauled Team Omega-Pharma Quickstep to the top of the podium by a margin of just one second over Team Orica-GreenEDGE. He is also an integral part of the lead out train in sprint finishes, usually to set up Alessandro Petacchi, Tom Boonen or Mark Cavendish.
A demonstration of his courage and grit is Stage 6 of the 2013 edition of the Vuelta a Espana. From the start of the 175km long stage Martin raced out in front by himself. Several riders attempted to breach the void but none were able to catch up with the German. With a mere 10km to go it looked as if the peloton were going to catch up with him. It transpired to be a tantalizing 10km as Martin held a gap of just 10 seconds, but kept denying the odds by remaining out in front. Only within the last 100 metres of the stage did the group eventually catch up with Martin and he finished 7th. The stage went to Denmark’s Morkov Michael, but Martin’s ride will long go down as one of the best in living memory.
His success as a time trialist is almost unparalleled. Fending off competition from great TT riders like Sir Bradley Wiggins and Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland, 2013 was expected to be his toughest year defending the UCI World TT jersey. The result was never in doubt as Martin blasted the competition away over the 58.6km course in Florence. Martin won his third straight rainbow jersey as he brushed aside Wiggins by 46 seconds and Cancellara by 48 seconds.
At the age of only 28 Tony Martin is in to the prime of his career. His list of achievements both in a team and as a time trialist is astounding and will no doubt go down as one of the greatest TT riders in history.
Pundit Arena, Jerome Glavin.
Featured Image By Thomas Ducroquet (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons.