German Tony Martin returned to his former time trial position for the UCI 2016 Road World Championships in Doha, Qatar, after struggling with a new aerodynamic setup. He says, it he is partly gaining a mental edge riding as he did when he won his three time trial titles.
“I know that I am three times already become world champion in this position, it’s also a mental factor for me,” Martin told Radsport News. “So, it can not be that bad. Next year, we can see if we take smaller steps for better aerodynamics.”
Martin won the Worlds time trial in 2011, 2012 and 2013. He placed second to Bradley Wiggins in 2014. Last year, he struggled and placed seventh, his worst performance since he finished in the same spot in the 2008 worlds.
The Olympic beating in August, where he finished 12th at 3-18, forced him to make some changes. Already, the “comfort factor” of his former position made difference with the Tour of Britain time trial win.
“The changes have been serious. I had my hands very high up and my elbows low down, but that wasn’t for me,” he added. “Now, I feel much more comfortable again. One has to accept that the aerodynamics are not everything, but the comfort factor plays a very, very important role. If your body does not work well, then whole aerodynamics thing means nothing.”
Martin believes he lost around five to 10 per cent of his power in the aero position that he adopted in 2015. He added, “The position was not bad, but I just could not get used to it.”
He is one of the most successful time trial cyclists of this generation with Cancellara and Wiggins. If he wins again this year in Doha he will match Cancellara’s record of four titles.
In the latest Cycling Weekly magazine issue out now (October 6), he said, “I’m 100 per cent sure that I will come back. Every sportsman knows how it is to have one or two bad years. I’m still really confident that sooner or later I will be on top again.”