Grip tape on the three-time World Champion's saddle rubs all the way through skinsuit padding

If finishing a disappointing seventh in the time trial at the World Championships wasn’t bad enough for Tony Martin, the former champion also suffered the ignominy of having the grip tape on his saddle rip all the way through his skinsuit, rubbing against his bare skin by the end of the race.

tony martin saddle sandpaper

Ouch! Tony Martin can’t have been too comfortable by the end of his time trial (Photo: Instagram/Kristof Ramon)

Martin has used grip tape on the saddle of his Specialized Shiv TT bike, with the idea being that the extra grip will keep his backside firmly in place, stopping him from sliding forward in the saddle like many of his rivals.

>>> World Championships 2015 road races preview

However in this instance it appears to have backfired, with the grip tape managing to rub against the lycra and padding of his custom-made BioRacer skinsuit so much that it made its way all the way through the fabric, and starting rubbing against Martin’s buttocks instead.

tony martin specialized shiv saddle grip tape

The saddle in question

Whether or not the pain from his saddle contributed to Martin’s disappointing seventh place in yesterday’s race, we wouldn’t like to say, but it could well have hindered the three-time World Champion’s improvement in form since crashing out of the Tour de France while wearing the yellow jersey in July.

The German won the Tour du Poitou Charentes last month, where he was also third in the time trial just four seconds down on Adriano Malori, and was one of the favourites going into the World Championships. However Martin was off the pace from the start, eventually finishing one minute 16 seconds behind race winner Vasil Kiryienka.

  • J1

    Wow, you really haven’t watched any other bikes races. He’s well known for having sandpaper on his saddle. Every time he does a TT it gets mentioned, it’s nothing new.
    A rider as experienced in TTs, and road racing in general, as Tony isn’t going to just try something new in the Worlds.

  • Farbar

    It’s a terrible practice for Martin if he’s done that repeatedly. There’s a reason nobody else does this and, trust me, it was a factor. If there’s a burr in your saddle your mind starts to spend its time on that and not the race.

  • Farbar

    BS. If he’s done that before then he’s torn up his skinsuit before and ripped up his rear end before. Nobody does this. He got bad advice and decided to try it the day of the race. If his rear slides around then he’s not been fitted properly and has the wrong saddle.

  • Alexander Woo

    It’s the gaping mouth, i tell you. Not aero at all!! Imagine the turbulence around there!!
    (Trying to inject some humor. Don’t take me seriously )

  • J1

    Is this the first bike race you’ve watched? How do you think he won his three World TT Championships? And his numerous TT stage wins? With his sandpaper saddle. If it ain’t broke….

  • J1

    Sarcasm I hope. Otherwise not a very educated comment.

  • bertfivesix

    This isn’t a new practice for Martin, nor is the damage caused to his skinsuits. It’s been documented in the past. His post-race interviews don’t mention it being a factor.

  • Rohan M Zaveri

    Buddy he has just come back from a broken collar bone n post the first split he was second fastest!!!
    Post which we saw him slowing down a few seconds which could very well be because of the saddle!!!
    We can’t ride with saddle sores imagine the way he rode with sandpaper rubbing his ass for 20k@100rpm&50kmph

  • Farbar

    This tape thing has been tried over the years many times and there’s a reason it’s not a regular practice. What Martin experienced is one of them. You don’t try new stuff on race day….ever.

  • blemcooper

    Maybe he is losing weight so he can be more of a stage race GC contender next season, but he hasn’t got the mix of weight vs power right.

    In his interviews, he didn’t blame the saddle/sandpaper nor the injury he’s recovering from, but rather said it was a mental thing and he couldn’t find his rhythm when he got to the tailwind section and the speed was too fast for his desired cadence (and presumably top end gear) to stay in his comfort zone. Then when he got to the uphill, his rhythm was too messed up to go well.

    Almost sounds like he needs an even bigger (> 58 !) chainring (or maybe a Capreo 10 or 9 tooth rear cog!?) for flat-ish, tailwindy courses to keep the cadence under control.

    That, or he needs more work on being comfortable at higher cadences (maybe difficult for him in his aero position?).

  • Dustin D.

    Hard to believe that he is washed up and past his prime.

  • disqus_w6Rtnm6uyU

    Perhaps grip tape on the skin suit would work better and wear out the saddle instead