Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) produced a winning ride on stage 11 of the Tour de France, a 33km individual time trial to Mont-Saint-Michel, and hoped that his win would help boost cycling in Germany.
Martin's win marked Germany's fourth stage win in the race this year after Marcel Kittel (two) and Andre Greipel (one) claimed sprint victories.
German cycling has suffered in the last decade. After the euphoria reached after Jan Ullrich's Tour de France win in 1997 the nation was hit by a set of doping related stories. Sponsors fled, teams closed, and rider after rider confessed to doping during the 1990s and early 2000s. A nation that once had two WorldTour teams in Milram and Gerolsteiner was left without a seat at the top table but with Martin leading a line of new riders, he hopes that fans from his homeland will return to the sport.
"I hope so. It was always the goal to push German cycling again," he said in his winner's press conference.
"I think we've done a really good job up until now and I'm also proud of my German colleagues. I really hope that the fans see our performances and perhaps some of the fans that left cycling can see that the sport is improving once again in Germany."
Martin's win is sure to please his fans in Germany, not to mention his own team who have nursed him through the opening half of the race following a heavy fall in Corsica that almost saw him pull out of the Tour after the first stage. Since then Martin has hobbled, even bled his way through daily slogs across France, all the while helping his team when required to set pace for Mark Cavendish and then protecting the team's interest in the white jersey.
"The goal was always to continue in the Tour de France because it's always a big honour for me to be here," he said.
"When the doctors gave the okay to stay in the race I always kept the focus on today's stage. I knew that I wouldn't be 100 percent fit for the team time trial but I knew that I had a good chance to recover enough for today. I had all the support from the team and the staff to get me in the best possible condition and the crash didn't influence my performance today."
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