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German Tony Martin will put the disappointment of losing the team time trial behind him and will focus on winning a record-equalling fourth individual title on Wednesday in Spain. After Omega Pharma-Quick Step won the 2012 and 2013 TTT titles, all that Martin and the team could manage was a bronze medal ride behind BMC Racing and Orica-GreenEdge on Sunday.
“The rain doesn’t make the race any easier,” Martin said after his team tried to catch BMC, which rode on a dry course.
“It was a disappointment that it rained on the last descent, but that shouldn’t be an excuse that we lost time in the final — we have to look at what went wrong with analysis.”
After winning gold medals in Valkenburg (2012) and Florence (2013), Omega Pharma rode 36 seconds slower than BMC on the 57.12-kilometer course in Ponferrada, located in northwest Spain. Martin must now turn his attention to Wednesday’s 47.1km individual test, in which he could match Fabian Cancellara’s record of four victories.
“The team time trial was a good test to see where I was at. I’m OK, but I am still not 100 percent,” Martin said. “I have to analyze how to prepare now for the next days with my team, to take it easy or train a bit harder.”
A win would add to his 2011, 2012, and 2013 titles and make him the only cyclist to win four consecutive times.
“Of course, I am aware that I could set a record that would probably stand for a very, very long time in the history books, but I’m not a record hunter,” Martin told German media, including Weser Kurier, in a press conference.
“For me, it’s about the day, not the record. I want to go another year in the world champion jersey. And if there is a record — wonderful.”
Sebastian Weber, who has coached several riders and teams, has worked with Martin since around 2008. He told VeloNews that Martin’s goal is to match Cancellara before he turns his attention to other events such as the hour record.
The 29-year-old German tops a short list of time trial favorites that includes 2012 Tour de France winner and Olympic Champion Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain), Adriano Malori (Italy), Tom Dumoulin (Netherlands), and Rohan Dennis (Australia).
“The favorite status pushes me further, but it is also not easy to roll with the pressure from the start ramp,” Martin said. “There is nothing guaranteed for me over the 47 kilometers. And after all, I’m up against people such as Bradley Wiggins and Dutchman Tom Dumoulin, to just name two other favorites.”
Martin earned his favorite status this year. He won six individual time trails, including one in the Tour de France and one in the Vuelta a España. A win Wednesday in the time trial, which Cancellara will skip to give his attention to the road race, would cement his name not only in the record books but as one of cycling’s best time trialists.