Tony Martin won the German national time trial convincingly, but as he said, he “made it difficult" for himself. The world time trial champion also had some criticism for race organizers for the nighttime event.
Martin won his fourth national title by 56 seconds over Niklas Arndt, but the gap would probably have been much larger had he not gone off the course. The race consisted of three laps of a 14.4km circuit course. At the end of the first two laps, the riders were to turn right for the next laps instead of continuing on to cross the finish line.
Martin did indeed continue on, traveling several hundred meters before discovering his mistake. It cost him 50 seconds.
“The visibility was poor, I had no lead moto, and the radio wasn’t working,” he told Radsport-News.com. “So I went the wrong way. I also had to change my bike in the first lap – but fortunately it still all worked out.”
“If there are no strong rivals, then I have to give myself extra motivation,” he said wryly. “I made it more difficult for myself.”
The conditions would have created enough difficulties for him. As defending champion, Martin was the last to start at nearly 9:00 pm in the dark and under poor weather conditions. “When you start so extremely late, then you must take a test ride and reckon with rain. It went well, so now I can laugh about it.”
He had to start without the metal start ramp, which had been removed after a heavy rain shower made it too slick. He had no motorcycle or other vehicle ahead of him, and there were numerous unmarked traffic islands on the, which “at a speed of 50 to 60 (km/h) was borderline,” with an enormous risk of crashing.
“Those responsible need to think about this,” he said.