Tony Martin stormed to victory at the time trial of the Dauphiné in Grenoble. He scored the second German win in a row for HTC-Highroad the day after John Degenkolb took stage 2 to Lyon. The winner of Paris-Nice considers that he's on the right track for the Tour de France, where he hopes for a top ten finish overall.
As Martin crossed the finishing line in Grenoble, he had the feeling of a job well done. But when he heard where newly crowned American champion David Zabriskie stood, he was even more amazed by his performance. "58 seconds faster than Zabriskie, wow, that's good!" the German reacted. "I liked the course, it's a course for everybody and I came to the Dauphiné because this will be the course of the time trial at the Tour de France as well."
Martin was hoping for his time to remain the best till the end. Only Bradley Wiggins threatened him when he scored an equivalent time at the second intermediate time check at the top of the hill. But the Brit had to ride downhill on a wet road. "The weather conditions I got were really good," Martin admitted. "The two climbs were pretty hard but I was lucky to have a tailwind. I also rode a good downhill at the end." 11 seconds separated Martin and Wiggins at the end.
"I was the big favorite today and this is for sure a really nice test that I passed," the German said once he was certain he was the stage winner. "I found a good rhythm."
He denied that he saved his energy for the time trial when he finished quite far behind the GC contenders of the Dauphiné in the first few days. "I had a pretty long break in my season," the winner of Paris-Nice explained. "It's normal that I wasn't doing very well in the first two stages of the Dauphiné.
"The first few days were really hard for me. I'm here to get better step by step. I'm still in the process of building my condition for the Tour de France. To win it is a really big confidence booster for me, but I know that I'll have to go a little bit faster at the Tour de France."
Martin firmly stated that he believes he can win time trials against Fabian Cancellara and Alberto Contador who aren't competing in the Dauphiné.
After winning Paris-Nice in March, he reckons he can ride well in the mountains of the Tour de France too. "I don't have to prove anything to my team," he told Cyclingnews in Grenoble. "I have showed in the past that I can climb. As I said, I'm still on my way to getting form, so I don't know what I can achieve really in the mountain stages of the Dauphiné during the last three days. Whatever happens at the this race, I came here mostly for today's time trial and I'll target the top ten overall at the Tour de France this year. Of course, the captain of HTC-Highroad will be Mark Cavendish but my time will come."
Martin finished the 2009 Tour de France in 35th position and the 2010 Tour de France in 137th – with two second places at prologue and time trial behind Fabian Cancellara – so he's got an important margin of improvement at the age of 26.