World time trial champion Tony Martin‘s Vuelta a España time trial victory represents a big boost for the Omega Pharma Quick Step rider, as he prepares to defend his title in Ponferrada later this month.
Defeated just a few kilometres away in the 2013 Vuelta time trial in nearby Tarazona by Fabian Cancellara (Trek), this time around Martin - and his teammate Rigoberto Urán, who finsihed second, 15 seconds behind - were both able to turn the tables on the Swiss rider, who had to settle for third.
Is this the perfect build-up for the World Time Trial Championships for Martin, who will be seeking a fourth straight title? “Now I can go home," Martin said jokingly after his stage win. "This was the last big test for me before the World’s and it’s worked out perfectly.”
“Seriously, though, I’m very happy that I could win here, it’s our first stage win in the Vuelta this year, so that’s great. And Rigo’ [Uran] is back in business too, so this is an ideal result.”
“My next goal is undecided, it all depends on how the next stages go for Rigo and whether he needs my support.” Asked if this result, in any case, makes him the favourite for the Worlds Time Trial title in Ponferrada, Martin said with a grin, “I hope so.”
Discussing the Vuelta’s technical time trial, Martin said, “It was a really hard climb, and the GC guys were ahead of me by the top. But I was strong enough to take back time on the descent and that’s a really good result for me.”
He has yet to see the Ponferrada course, but expects to go out there to check it out, “a week or so before. I’ve heard it’s good for me.” Either way, his Vuelta stage win, a first since he won at the Salamanca time trial in 2011, augers very well indeed for the German star.