The Worlds time trial course is harder than Tony Martin had expected, especially the climbs. The German admitted that while it is not his ideal terrain, he still sees himself as a candidate for a medal.
“I must admit, my mouth fell open the first time I saw the climbs,” he told Radsport-News.com. “The course is really challenging, even if not technical.”
“This is not a rolling course,” he continued, “but with the 10-to 15 percent gradient climbs it will really require a lot of strength – irregular, windy and with a rough surface.”
Despite the difficult climbs, the German time trial champion expects the race to go a a pure time triallist, rather than a climber. “I don't think that a climber will win here. The climbs are too short for that.”
His pick to win gold is titleholder Fabian Cancellara, even if “Fabian will also surely not be exactly happy about the climbs.”
Cancellara has beaten Martin in every time trial this year, with the exception of the Tour de Romandie and Tour of California. In the Tour de France, the Swiss rider won both time trials with Martin second. However, in the long time trial near the end of the Tour, Martin was the only one to finish close to Cancellara, only 17 seconds down. In addition, Cancellara finished only third in the Vuelta a Espana time trial, 37 seconds behind Martin's HTC-Columbia teammate Peter Velits.
Martin, 25, is also riding the road race on Sunday, where he will help the German team. “To be perfectly honest, I have prepared for the time trial and don't want to do anything by half measures. Plus I don't have the condition for 260 kilometres, to be able to ride for the win after six hours.”
He has also joined the chorus of those who are doubting a mass sprint finish. “I think that it will be hard for the pure sprinters, even if I trust Andre Greipel to get over the climbs well.” His pick for a potential German winner would be another rider. “The course will surely be good for a Classics specialist like Paul Martens”