Martin to bypass Vuelta in world’s run-up

Team officials confirm Tony Martin will return at the Vattenfall Cyclassics, not the Vuelta as he targets fourth world time trial title.

Tony Martin (Etixx-Quick-Step), who is still on the mend after crashing out of the Tour de France, will steer clear of the Vuelta a España in his run-up to the world championships next month in Richmond, Virginia.

The three-time world time trial champion desperately wants another rainbow jersey, but Etixx-Quick-Step officials confirmed that the German star will not race the Spanish grand tour.

Instead, he will make his return to competition at the Vattenfall Cyclassics in Hamburg, Germany, on August 23. The remainder of his schedule will be revealed shortly, but officials confirmed to VeloNews that Martin will not race the Vuelta.

Martin’s decision to skip the Vuelta reflects a growing trend among several world championship favorites who are racing elsewhere before an assault on the rainbow bands.

Until 2013, every world champion except one had raced the Vuelta before winning the rainbow jersey, going back to 1999. As the Vuelta has gradually has become more difficult, riders have had second thoughts about racing in the heat and punishing climbs of Spain before the demands of the worlds.

This year, with the worlds in the United States, even more riders seem to be taking a different track. Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing) and defending world champion Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx-Quick-Step) have also said they will not race the Vuelta.

Martin, meanwhile, said his recovery is going well following shoulder surgery. The German won stage 4 to snag the yellow jersey, only to crash out three days later in a finish-line pileup in stage 6. He underwent shoulder surgery, but hopes to be near 100 percent in time to try to win a fourth world time trial title next month.

“If I didn’t think I could win, I wouldn’t go,” Martin told the German newspaper Thüringer Landeszeitung. “Maybe I won’t be in as good condition as if I had competed all season, but there is no pain in the shoulder. I believe within three weeks, the shoulder will have completely recovered.”