Tony Martin left 'absolutely speechless' with the UCI and race organisers over safety concerns

The now-retired German powerhouse made the decision to step off the bike due to not feeling safe anymore

Tony Martin
(Image credit: Getty)

Retired pro rider Tony Martin has once again raised concerns on the lack of work done by the UCI and race organisers on rider safety, despite numerous riders voicing concerns. 

Martin, who retired after being part of the winning German team at the mixed relay team time trial at the UCI Road World Championships in Belgium, said that he will continue watching cycling but is worried about the lack of action regarding rider safety by those at the top of the sport.

There have been some horrific crashes in the last couple of years including Fabio Jakobsen's crash at the Tour of Poland and Remco Evenepoel's fall at Il Lombardia just two extreme examples.

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Speaking to the Cycling Show on Eurosport GCN (opens in new tab), Martin said: "Nothing changed really, so we all still have the old standards. We still have the bad crashes. My feeling is we have more crashes. We see more big crashes, more riders are forced to abandon races because of the crashes."

Martin crashed multiple times at this year's Tour de France, the first time on the opening day when a fan stepped out into a narrow road holding a cardboard banner reading "Allez Opi-Omi", Martin crashed into the back of her with a much of the peloton then hitting the deck.

He crashed at least three times with the last coming on stage 11 when he fell into a ditch, cutting his leg, arm, and face.

"You have to react as the organiser,” Martin said. “As the UCI, you have to react to the circumstances. Do you have to find ways to make this more safe? I think in my opinion, nothing really changed.

“If [UCI and race organisers] don't understand how dangerous this is, I have to say then they're stupid because they can see the crashes, they can see the riders taken away in emergency cars. So you have to know as a federation that is responsible for the riders, you have to see the situation as it is actually, you should see that you have to react and that you have to do things better. 

"And when I see then that they come with some stupid rules, like forbidden the super tuck, or the arrow position (time trial position on a road bike). Okay, you can do that. But for me, it sounds more like okay, we can say we did something."

Martin wasn't the only rider to retire for similar reasons this season, with another Martin, Dan Martin hanging up the bike saying he wasn't willing to take so many risks anymore.

The Irishman dropped out of GC contention at the Giro d'Italia this year on the gravel stage in Tuscany as he said it was "not worth the risk" with a young family at home. He went on to win a stage on Sega di Ala, completing his Grand Tour stage wins set.

The full interview is available on GCN+, and Discovery+.

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Tim Bonville-Ginn

Hi, I'm one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!

I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.

It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.

After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.

When not writing stories for the site, I don't really switch off my cycling side as I watch every race that is televised as well as being a rider myself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager. Maybe too regular.

My bike is a well used Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on my local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being my preferred terrain.