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2011 Road Worlds Elite Men’s ITT Report and Photos – Martin Claims First Title as Germany Scores 2-for-2

by Laura Robinson

September 21, 2011 (Copenhagen, Denmark) – Tony Martin’s (Germany) time appeared to be incomprehensible. How could the two-time bronze medalist from Germany be 1:16 minutes ahead of second place Bradley Wiggins of the U.K. and 1:20.59 minutes ahead of four-time world ITT champion Fabian Cancellara from Switzerland? But the unofficial times became official and Martin completed the 46.4km circuit in 53:43.35, for an average speed of 51.81.3/km per hour.

Martin made it two for two for Germany matching teammate Judith Arndt’s gold the day before in the Elite Women’s ITT. The Germans, Brits and Aussies all had both riders in the top ten serving notice that they are on target for next year’s London 2012 Olympics.

Fourth place went to Martin’s teammate Bert Grabsch at 1:31.79 minutes back, while Australian Jack Bobridge was fifth at 2:13.86 behind Martin. His teammate Ritchie Porte took sixth at 2:29.4 behind. Canada’s Svein Tuft was in the bronze medal seat until the last dozen riders finished and he ended up 13th at 3:35.89 minutes back.

“It was really important to come into the race with a good rhythm. After one or two kilometers I had perfect legs. I found my good position and after the first split [with news he was 1st], I found my comfort and I could just keep pushing. It was just perfect,” said Martin of his race today. Clearly Martin was in a class of his own today catching and passing his minute man David Millar (Great Britain) who finished 7th on the day.

He commented that there are two sides to preparation. “I’m really getting strong in the head. I know how to make a perfect time trial – find my way against the pressure. Doing the Vuelta – it worked really good. It gave me good legs,” he continued, referring to the Tour of Spain where he won the 47km time trial by a minute and a half over Cancellara. Martin chose to wear a radio today, something Wiggins rejected. Martin said the information was helpful. “To be honest I was pretty sure I would win today with 3-4km to go. I had information that I was in front.”

Wiggins, who didn’t look particularly happy with his silver medal, said he didn’t really know why he intentionally rejected the radio, and then providing some insight. “I didn’t take the radio so I had no idea where I was. I find it a little bit distracting. It shouldn’t change how I ride for one hour – whether you’re up or down, it’s not really relevant. You’ve got to trust the people giving you the information. I had a few people lie to me this year – giving me wrong information.”

While he may have had differences with his support team over the radio, he had nothing but tributes for Martin and the tens of thousands of people on the course. “You always hope you’re good enough to get a medal – maybe even win it. But it takes something really special to be Tony today.” When asked about the course and the people he said, “They were fantastic. It really felt like a world championship or a big city prologue.” During the course pre-rides he said it “…felt Mickey Mouse. There were people crossing the course and everything was crazy. Today it was a real world championship.”

In advance of the race Wiggins decided to “…pick a power and try that power for the first lap, and then raise it for the second. I was down [in terms of the splits] on the first lap. That information over the radio is useless.” Wiggins added that his ride today, with a power expenditure he called “just right” got him the silver. “It shows I have recovered from the Grand Tour because seven or eight days later I can still produce my maximum power.”

But Wiggins was also philosophical about where he stands right now as an athlete. “In terms of next year, I’ve got too many options. When there are so many people telling you what to do… it’s too soon to think about it. I will think about this in the winter. I just want to try to enjoy this now.”

Cancellara continued on a philosophical note. “There are bad things; there are good things; there are beautiful things, but you’re not going to have a perfect year – that’s impossible. It’s hard work. I rode my best – even what I had done. I love riding my bike. With murder and what’s going on in the world, we just want to ride our bikes and give our maximum. We are not machines. When you are not 100% you should not win. That is not a good bike race.”

Cancellara added that he couldn’t find his groove and knew it early on in the race. Near the end of his last lap he ran into a barricade while cornering and came to a dead stop. “I lost many seconds of concentration. I’m a super technical rider – it was painful – but that’s not an excuse for today. When you want to give everything that is the risk.”

At this point in the press conference someone asked Martin whether or not it was “special” to have the rainbow jersey after “fighting Cancellara” for so long. “It’s not all about a fight between me and Fabian. There were a lot of other good guys – Wiggins, Millar – I’m just happy now that I have the jersey. He had a lot of pressure. I know third is a very good place… I should know I had it for two years. He should be happy – I am happy,” added Martin as he looked at Cancellara.

Tuft responded to his top fifteen finish with a mix of comments analyzing his preparation for the time trial event, technique and tactics. “The course suited me. It’s just one of those days I was hoping to have really good legs. I went out pretty hard, but I faded in the last 10km, probably from the lack of doing longer time trials this season,” said Tuft, who currently rides for the Canadian-based Pro Conti team SpiderTech p/b C10 but will move to Australia’s new GreenEDGE Cycling squad next season.

“We focused more on the road racing this season. I think sometimes, working on the acceleration skills needed for the road races takes away from time trials skills.”

“For the most part, I am quite content with how my ride went. I just wasn’t super sharp, and accelerated into speed. A course like this really suits a guy that’s on top of it, both physically and mentally. You need to focus for a really long time – that’s how she goes.”

“This results shows that I have to work specifically to get back in my time trial form. It’s gonna be a work in progress. I look at the times and I am happy to be in the fighting times. That keeps me positive and focused. On the day, you hope to feel good and have good legs.”

Full results HERE.

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