Belgian team retain title
Tony Martin anchored Omega Pharma-Quick Step to a second consecutive team time trial world title nd punched the air in celebration when team staff confirmed that the squad had snatched victory from Orica-GreenEdge.
The usually self controlled German was overjoyed to have won again and proved they are the best team time trial squad in professional cycling.
Omega Pharma-Quick Step were 14 seconds ahead of the Australian team at the second time split after 24km but slipped to 1.45 seconds behind with 15km, and the final technical section I the centre of Florence, left to ride. Thanks to a huge effort from the four riders left up front, including Martin, Omega Pharma-Quick Step pulled back enough time to win by 0.81 of a second. The 57km race was decided by a tiny margin.
"Some times to win this way, with a tiny gap, is better to win it by a big gap, especially for the spectators. I bet it was exciting to watch but we had to go really deep to win," Martin said after collecting his gold medal on the podium.
"For me and for all the riders, it's hard when you have to pull time back but Tom Steels boosted our moral via the radio. We took some risk in the last 10km but we knew we would win it or blow up. It's great to see that we won it. The time gaps were like a wake up call in the finale. We tried to up the speed. It hurt but it has to hurt a lot."
"We came into the finale (in central Florence) with the four freshest guys and it's easier with four instead of six. Kristoff Vande Walle brought us into the finale and then we gave it everything right to the line."
Revenge for Tour de France defeat
Omega Pharma-Quick Step lost the team time trial stage at this year's Tour de France to Orica-GreenEdge by just 0.75 of a second. They took revenge and snatched the world title as the Australians watched from the race leader's hot seat.
"In the Tour de France maybe Orica was a little bit lucky. Maybe we were lucky today," Martin said.
"That's the nice thing about this discipline. It's always close and you can never say who is going to win. It was a close fight and we put up a good fight. I think one of the key points was our preparation before the race. The whole team really deserved it."
Celebrations before focusing on the individual time trial
Martin will now swap his blue and white Omega Pharma-Quick Step skinsuit for the red, black and white German national colours as his attention turns to Wednesday's individual time trial.
The 57.9km individual time trial course between Montecatini Terme and Florence is virtually identical to the team time trial course. The long straight roads means it suits Martin's ability to push a 58 tooth chain ring and produce huge power and speed.
The pragmatic German is the favourite to win a third consecutive title on Wednesday. But before focusing on individual and national glory, he wanted to celebrated with his trade teammates.
"I'm pretty optimistic for Wednesday's race now. This win is good for my morale," he said.
"I've got the experience to do well and want to do well. For now I'm just happy to win this. We'll celebrate a little bit and then tomorrow I'll start thinking about Wednesday's race."
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