Despite pulling out on stage 5 of the Tour of Britain through illness, Tony Martin (HTC-Columbia) will race at the Worlds, where he will aim to defeat favourite and current world time trial champion, Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank).
Martin finished third last year but has improved his time trialling in the last twelve months. He comprehensively beat Cancellara in time trials at both the Tour of California and the Tour de Suisse. Cancellara on the other hand won both races against the clock in this year’s Tour de France.
Both men have raced different programmes since the Tour de France in their build ups to the Worlds, with Martin preferring to race the Tour of Britain and Cancellara competing at the Vuelta.
“You have to decide if you want to do three weeks at the Vuelta or the Tour of Britain,” Martin told Cyclingnews.
“It’s nice that we can choose between the two races and it’s nice that the Tour of Britain still exists. A lot of races have disappeared. There are many in Germany, the Tour of Germany included, that don’t exist any more.”
Despite pulling out of the Tour of Britain, Martin has been in fine form since his disappointing Tour de France, where he failed to make any impression on GC.
“My Worlds preparation is going well. I had a big win the Eneco Tour and that shows me that my form is really good. I was at the Tour of Britain to go easier because I want to be fresh at the Worlds, so I didn’t want to go too deep at in Britain.”
It isn’t just about getting the miles in. Martin has also been hard at work improving his position on the bike.
“I was here in the UK doing wind tunnel testing. We’ve found a new position for me that makes sense. We’re always looking at what we can do better and we try and develop things bit by bit in order to help me get on the top step of the podium at Worlds. The changes we’ve had will certainly make a difference but I can’t talk about them too much.”
Any changes to his position and precious seconds saved will only enhance Martin’s billing as Cancellara’s biggest challenger. For now though, the German isn’t allowing himself to be caught up in the hype.
“The past shows that we’re the strongest guys in time trials,” he said. “I hope it will be the same at the Worlds, with a close final but to beat him I need to have a perfect day. I have a chance though. If I make the podium it would still be a good result but I’m aiming for the win.”