Tony Martin is soldiering on towards the Tour de France and the Olympics. Omega Pharma-Quick Step’s German won his national-championship time trial this weekend and — despite being covered in bandages — placed second in the long time trial in the Critérium du Dauphiné.
After crashing the day before in France’s Dauphiné stage race, Martin pushed Brad Wiggins (Sky) to the limit and placed just 34 seconds back. The effort was made more impressive considering the world champion collided with a car on April 11 in training and fractured his cheekbone.
“I was on the bike after four days, but I couldn’t train 100 percent so. …” Martin told VeloNews. “It’s still a long time to the highlights of Tour and the Olympics. Everything went well. After the Dauphiné and a small break, I will be in the right shape.
Martin’s persistence after his crash paid off. He returned strongly, winning the Tour of Belgium just before starting the Dauphiné and on Friday, the German time-trial title.
He hopes the efforts he makes now will pay off for the Tour and on to the Olympics. Wiggins, though, kept him close at the worlds in Copenhagen. Besides challenging for the overall, he will be a force to reckon with in the time trials.
“Yeah, for sure, but I am aiming to win the TT, it doesn’t matter if Bradley is going for the GC or not, I want to be the strongest anyway. I don’t care if any contender is going for the GC,” Martin said.
Added sports director Brian Holm: “If Wiggins goes and races every day, Tony can take it easy on some stages and recover. Fabian Cancellara, though, is going to be doing the same thing as Tony and isn’t going to be easy to deal with.”
Cancellara won the world championships four times and the 2008 Olympic title. He also crashed this spring. In the Tour of Flanders he fractured his collarbone, which forced him out of competition to recover. The RadioShack-Nissan rider made his way back in the Bayern-Rundfahrt last month, placed second in the Tour de Suisse’s opening prologue and on Wednesday won the Swiss champs.
Holm said that Martin and the team need to stay focused on their work and not worry too much about the competition.
“Second [in the Dauphiné] is not so bad, given the way Wiggins is riding. I saw him in Paris-Nice, the Tour de Romandie … he’s a class apart,” Holm said.
“It looks like he’s on the right track now. I wouldn’t change anything or panic just because you were beaten by Wiggins. Even if you’re beaten, you got to trust and stick to your plan.”