The German blasted his rivals through Qatar’s desert-cum-skyscraper paradise. In 40 kilometres, with temperatures near 40°C, he put 45 seconds into second placed Vasil Kiryienka (Belarus).
After his win, Martin donned his rainbow jersey and remembered those turbo sessions in the bathroom at home in Germany with a space heater turned on high to mimic Doha.
“Some people called me crazy for doing this,” Martin explained, “but that was harder than what we did today.”
Great Britain’s race coach, Rod Ellingworth told Cycling Weekly this week that he had the team in heated room with strong light intensity to prepare for the Middle East. Never before has the UCI hosted its world title race in the region and with the expected temperatures, it scheduled the latest ever date on the calendar.
Steve Cummings (Great Britain), 25th at 2-48 behind Martin, said that the power he could normally produce at 20 or 25°C, was not possible at 40°C.
Martin’s gold medal helped him forget about the heat. He added to his three titles from 2011 to 2013 and ended a two-year slump. After the Rio Olympics, where he lost 3-18 minutes to gold medallist Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland), he changed back to his former time trial position. He said it was not as aerodynamic, but he that he could crank out more watts.
“For sure it is most important that I returned to my previous position,” Martin added. “We made changes to go back to my old position after the Olympics. After three hard seasons, I am once against able to show my best.
“It was a good course for me, flat with some wind. I didn’t care about my power or the split times. The most important thing was to go at a good rhythm, and keep a strong steady pace.”
Winning four titles, he matches Cancellara’s record. Martin said, “I do not care about records. The most important thing for me is that I will be able to wear the rainbow jersey again for one season.”