Defending time trial world champion, Tony Martin believes Bradley Wiggins is disadvantaged coming from Tour of Britain to race the World Championships. Wiggins arrived in Florence yesterday, which is too late according to the German.
“I was really wondering about Bradley,” Martin said to a small group of journalists at the German’s hotel. “He rode the whole Tour of Britain until Sunday. If he comes to the race in top-form on Wednesday, Chapeau! That is not an easy thing to do.”
Wiggins won the time trial stage en route to sealing his first general classification victory since the 2012 Tour de France. While others boarded Ryanair flights, including Alex Dowsett, Sir Wiggo flew in a private jet to arrive at British headquarters in Pistoia with minimum delay.
Martin, including favourites Taylor Phinney (USA) and Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland), raced in Sunday’s team time trial. The course is almost identical to tomorrow’s 57.9-kilometre event: start in Montecatini Terme, flat and straight by Pistoia and Prato, and a technical finish through Florence.
“Having not ridden the course at race-speed, especially through the older parts of Florence, is a disadvantage,” Martin added. “It was good for me to ride it on Saturday, when the course was closed for training or in the team time trial. I know where the critical points are now, which could count for precious seconds.”
Martin’s Omega Pharma-QuickStep trade team won the time trial on Sunday by 0.81 seconds over Orica Green-Edge. The team said that part of the reason they won is that it started last and could adjust their speed based on Orica’s time checks. As with Omega Pharma, Martin won the gold medal last year in Valkenburg and the right to start last.
“It’s always nicer to be the hunter, than the hunted,” Martin said. “We saw in the team time trial that it’s an advantage. If you know you’re behind by a second, maybe you take bigger risks in the last 10 kilometres than you would without knowing.”
In 37 starters, Wiggins starts third from last at 15:09 local time. Cancellara sets off at 15:10:30 and Martin at 15:12.
Besides a small Spanish one-day race in Majorca this year, Wiggins and Martin have not raced each other since the London Olympics. Martin lost the gold medal to Wiggins by 42 seconds in London.
“I’m not thinking about the Olympic Games anymore,” Martin explained. “I’m not looking for revenge; I’m just looking forward to the fight against him.”