Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) brought the curtain down on his season in familiar fashion in Les Herbiers on Sunday as he claimed his third consecutive victory in the Chrono des Nations time trial.
The old Grand Prix des Nations was widely considered to be the unofficial world time trial championship, and it fitting, therefore, that Martin has followed each of his three rainbow jerseys with victory in the Chrono des Nations.
The German was a dominant winner of the world time trial title in Florence last month, but he was pushed harder than he might have anticipated by runner-up Gustav Larsson (IAM Cycling) on Sunday. Martin eventually won out by 14 seconds to take his 12th victory of the season.
“I’m very glad to have won today at the end of the season in what is my best discipline – but it was very hard work,” Martin said on his personal website afterwards. “Fortunately, I was the last man to start and that meant I had the intermediate time checks of all the other riders.”
A check of another type took place before Martin rolled down the start ramp, as a commissaire felt the arms of his skinsuit for padding. The control followed speculation that Martin had made use of illegal farings under his skinsuit during his victorious ride at last month’s Worlds.
“After the absurd allegations about an arm spoiler at the Worlds, they had orders to control me,” Martin said. “I don’t mind because I have nothing to hide. But it was funny, that’s never happened to me.”
Martin’s teammate Sylvain Chavanel rounded out the Chrono des Nations podium in what was his final race in the colours of Omega Pharma-QuickStep. Chavanel makes the switch to IAM Cycling for 2014, where he will lead the Swiss team’s classics challenge.
For Marco Pinotti, the Chrono des Nations was the final race of his professional career, and the Italian time trial champion signed off with a fourth-place finish.
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