Tony Martin was forced to concede his title as the sport's top time trialist in the 2012 Olympic Games in London to Bradley Wiggins. In the 44km test at Hampton Court Palace, Wiggins prevailed for the gold medal over the German by a stunning 42-second margin.
It was a bit of turnabout after 2011, when it seemed that Martin was unstoppable in the time trials. He went nearly undefeated in the race against the clock last season, parlaying a Paris-Nice stage win into the overall victory thanks to his prowess in the race of truth, and going on to win stages of the Tour de France and Vuelta a España before winning the time trial world championships in Copenhagen.
Call it the curse of the rainbow jersey or not, Martin admitted that this year, Wiggins has surpassed him. "He was unbeatable today and I respect this. No one can beat him, a bit like I was like last year," Martin said of the Briton.
He was consoled with silver after holding off Chris Froome. "It's a great moment and it means a lot to me," Martin said. "I was really unlucky this season, but I think today I was very lucky with the silver medal. Bradley is unbeatable at the moment, everybody knows that, and for me silver feels like gold. I'm very happy."
Martin's preparation for the Games was hampered when he crashed in stage 1 of the Tour de France and suffered a broken bone in his wrist. He fought to remain in the race for the stage 9 time trial, and then headed home to recover.
"It was really hard after the Tour de France. I had to fight and it was really hard to come back. I did my best and I made it. I am at almost 100 percent power."
Until the first check, Martin still held out hope on winning gold, and was focusing on defending champion Fabian Cancellara's time. But when the gaps became bigger to Wiggins and it was clear that the Swiss rider was suffering from his road race crash, he had to change his aim to silver.
"At the beginning I was focusing on Cancellara's time, but then I realized that Froome was the main threat. I could go fast at the end of the race so I had a margin of 20 seconds."