'Mental factor' prompts Tony Martin's return to old TT position ahead of World Champs

Triple time trial world champion Tony Martin says that poor performances have made his revert to his old bike position ahead of the 2016 World Championships in Qatar

(Image credit: Andy Jones)

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.

Martin lost 3-18 minutes to Swiss gold medallist Fabian Cancellara (Trek-Segafredo) in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics time trial. Something had to change.

"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."

>>> Tony Martin to join Katusha for 2017

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.

Tony Martin on stage ten of the 2014 Tour of Spain

Former time trial world champion Tony Martin says he is going back to his old TT position
(Image credit: Graham Watson)

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.

>>> Preview: UCI Road World Championships 2016 time trials

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."

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