Tony Martin will try to defend his elite men's world time trial at the UCI Road World Championships in Bergen on Wednesday but is angry that the 31km course ends with the 3.4km climb on Mount Fløyen, knowing that the climb means he has little chance of victory.
The ascent kicks up at over 9 per cent, with a final kilometre at over 10 per cent, making it an atypical course for a world championship time trial. Only the elite men's time trial ends on Mount Fløyen in what is an apparent attempt to lure the likes of Chris Froome and other Grand Tour riders to the world championships.
Froome will ride, with Rohan Dennis (Australia), Ilnur Zakarin (Russia) and Tom Dumoulin (Netherlands) the favourites to fight for the rainbow jersey and medals.
Martin has won the world time trial title four times thanks to his speed and power. He will be the last rider to start on Wednesday but revealed his anger about the Mount Fløyen finish.
"The finale of the parcours of the individual time trial is way too hard for me. I'll be the outgoing world champion and so I'll still give it everything and I'll fight hard but I know I've got very little chance of success," the German said after finishing ninth in the team time trial with Katusha-Alpecin.
The UCI has also decided to permit riders to change bikes at the base of Mount Fløyen. The switch from a time trial bike to a lighter road race bike offers the climbers a better chance to pull back any time they lose on the flat roads. Switching bikes has its risks and usually takes between seven and 10 seconds but team coaches have calculated that a lighter bike can save close to 20 seconds on the 3.4km Mount Fløyen climb.
"I'm super disappointed and don't understand why they've allowed riders to change bikes, too," Martin lamented.
"Now the climbers have an advantage with this because they won't lose much time changing bikes but will get the benefits of riding a normal bike on the climb.
"If they make a time trial like this, then everyone should have to stay on the TT bikes. It would still be difficult for me to win but I'd have more chance with a time trial bike."
Martin was seen shaking his head as the Katusha-Alpecin team crossed the line at the end of the team time trial. They were hoping to take a medal but finished ninth, 1:46 slower that Team Sunweb.
"I like to ride the TTT before the individual time trial. I could feel that my legs are quite good, really good," he said.
"We were hoping, or let's say dreaming, for the bronze medal. That didn't happen but for sure we can learn a lot of things for future team time trials. Next year we'll be far stronger and I hope we can go for the medals."
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