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Tony Martin (Germany) counts three world titles
"You need to be strong in the head and you have to like pain"
Tony Martin admitted that winning two previous time trial world titles had given him the experience and mental strength he needed to win a third title in Florence, Italy on Wednesday and consecrate him as the world best time trialist.
The 28-year-old German had the mental strength to stay focused during the 57km time trial and gradually carved out a significant winning margin of 46 seconds on silver medalist Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain). Martin has now taken over Fabian Cancellara's crown and is just one title behind the Swiss rider in the record books.
"There was a lot of pressure on me, I've already won this title twice, but I wanted to win it again. Three times in a row, I can't imagine anything better," Martin said in the press conference while sitting between Wiggins and Cancellara while resplendent in his new rainbow jersey.
"I started to handle the pressure in 2011, and I learnt to handle the pressure and to use the pressure. For me, time trialing is all about the head. You need goals that push you. I need the pressure on the start so that I want to win. I need it to push me, that's only way for me that works. You need to be strong in the head and you have to like pain. For me it's more painful on the climbs, so I prefer an hour on the limit in a time trial."
Martin blasted along the course at an average of 52.911km/h. He studied the course during training for the team time trial and focused on staying in an aerodynamic position while pushing his massive 58-tooth chain ring.
He revealed that like Wiggins, he was pushing out more than 450 watts and went faster than his planned threshold.
"We did 95% of the course in the team time trial. We did the whole parcours three times with the team last Thursday, and so I knew the road perfectly," he said.
"There weren't many corners or a hard profile. The hardest thing was to find a good strategy because the straights were endless. We talked a lot about with the sports directors and coaches on how to find a good rhythm. That was the hardest part for me."
Martin admitted that he felt the pressure slip away as left the centre of Florence and approached the finish. He knew he had a winning margin.
"When I came out of the old city, I knew my advantage was about 40 seconds and so almost didn't feel the pain. I was just scared about getting a puncture or something. The last five kilometres were pretty nice for me. Like in Copenhagen, I knew I was going to be world champion."