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Tony Martin has cobbles on his mind

Time trial specialist Tony Martin wants to branch out in 2016, and given his success on the Tour de France’s stage 4 cobblestones, it’s easy to imagine the Etixx rider blasting off the front in Paris-Roubaix — someday.

“This spring will be a test, and if the signals will be good, then I’d like to continue on this road. But first I need to gain some experience, so that’s why I’m downplaying any expectations,” Martin said in a team statement.

Martin, 30, has never raced Paris-Roubaix or Ronde van Vlaanderen, the pinnacles of spring cobblestone classics. But the German has laid out a fairly busy spring schedule, one that’s quite different from the weeklong stage races he’s targeted in that timeframe throughout his career. “I will mix the regular races I usually do with the one-day races, which means I’ll line up for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Dwars door Vlaanderen, and if everything will work well I will try to be part of the team that will go in Gent-Wevelgem, Ronde van Vlaanderen, and Paris-Roubaix in the following months. Obviously, I can’t say that I want to win there, but to test myself, to see how I do in this kind of races,” he added.

Martin’s stage 4 win at the Tour is likely one of the best indications of his potential in spring classics, but it was no fluke. He also won stage 9 in the 2014 Tour, as well as stage 2 of the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco, and, of course, he’s best known for his three world championship time trial titles, as well as numerous major wins in the individual discipline.

Suffice to say that it would be imprudent to let Martin sneak off the front in the final 20 kilometers of Roubaix.

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