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Martin looks for yellow in early part of Tour de France

German time trial champion Tony Martin (HTC-Highroad) finished 9 seconds off the pace in 35th place.

German time trial champion Tony Martin (HTC-Highroad) finished 9 seconds off the pace in 35th place. (Image credit: AFP)

Tony Martin is dreaming of wearing the leader's yellow jersey at the upcoming Tour de France. But the HTC-Highroad rider sees his chances at the start of the race, while at the end he expects to be somewhere between fifth and tenth overall.

“The probability that we can get it in the first four stages is pretty big,” he said in an interview with the dpa press agency. “Maybe it will work out for me after the team time trial. But I think I also have chances in the first stage, which ends with a climb.”

It is time for Martin to show what he can do, team manger Rolf Aldag said. “If he wants to try something in GC, then now is the time.” Martin wore the white jersey of best young rider for a long time in his 2009 Tour debut, but finished only 137th last year.

“Without this experience I might not be so far now. For me it always goes step by step. This year I want a placing between five and ten,” Martin said.

“For example, I would rate a ninth place in GC higher than a stage win, although in the media that is maybe not such a big thing. But the time trial on the penultimate day in Grenoble is also a goal for me. Maybe then I will get my first stage win.”

Martin criticised the fact that Alberto Contador's doping case won't be heard or ruled upon until after the Tour. “It is a weak performance that there won't be a decision before the Tour. The fans are being made fools of and it is not good for cycling.” However, he also emphasised that he could pass no judgement on the case himself. “I have no opinion as to whether he is guilty or not,” he said.

Martin also has had his share of being mentioned in association with doping. On the UCI's so-called “suspicious list”, he was one of the highest ranked Germans, with a seven, which amazed him.

“We specifically had our doctors go back over our biological passports – with no conspicuous results,” Martin said. “Nobody could explain to us what criteria were used for these findings. Contador got four points – I don't know what to say. The UCI's excuses sound feeble.”