Biomechanical expert Andy Pruitt says Tony Martin ‘is incredibly tough’
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Monday, November 14, 2011

Biomechanical expert Andy Pruitt says Tony Martin ‘is incredibly tough’

by Shane Stokes at 10:51 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Training, Preparation, and Health
Believes Martin’s in his peak, but says any Tour ambitions could cost him TT speed

Tony MartinSpecialized BG Fit expert and the founder of the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine, Andy Pruitt, has indicated that world time trial champion Tony Martin must carefully weigh up career goals if he is to retain his superiority in races against the clock.

The 26 year old German has dominated time trials this year, winning such races in the Tour de France, Vuelta a España, Critérium du Dauphiné, Volta ao Algarve, Tour de Romandie and world championships. Some have said that next year’s Tour de France could suit him very well due to what is almost 100-kilometres of time trials plus just three summit finishes, and there have been suggestions that he could aim for top ten or even higher in the race.

Pruitt, who has worked with Martin as a Specialized athlete while he was with the HTC Highroad team, is extremely impressed with his ability against the clock, while also believing that his dominance there could be impacted if he decides to aim for the overall GC in the Tour.

“I think if he tries to win a race more than ten days, he will lose what he is really good at,” he told VeloNation as part of a long interview about the sport’s top riders. “It is the rare bird that has it all. Once you start trying to lose weight to climb, your time trial ability can drop away a little.”

Pruitt has worked with many of the top athletes in the sport, doing biomechanical analysis, bike positioning and more with top names such as Greg LeMond, Lance Armstrong, Alberto Contador, Frank and Andy Schleck, Fabian Cancellara and many more. He’s gotten to see what makes the top stars what they are, and is clearly impressed with Martin’s ability.

“He is a beast. He is incredibly tough mentally. He has got a really huge motor and can get very aerodynamic,” he said. “However he is not aggressive in his position whatsoever…he is not very low in the front, but he can get very narrow.

“Tony is very impressive, and it is his time right now.”

Cancellara worked with Pruitt when he was at Saxo Bank SunGard, with that team’s contract with Specialized including hi-tech BG Fit sessions which sought to ensure the best bike setup and position for each rider. He’s spoken in the past about Cancellara’s qualities as a bike rider, but also recognises that 2011 saw Martin take over the mantle as the world’s top time trialist.

He believes that’s at least partly due to the work that Cancellara has been doing for the Schleck brothers and others in races.

“Does this mean that Fabian has passed his time?” he said, referring to Martin’s dominance. “Well, Fabian has become a great team-mate in Grand Tours. When you do that, you give up what you are good at, as you are no longer as sheltered as before. Tony is protected. He has been protected to do what he does well, and it is his time right now, no doubt.”

He also believes that bike choices have helped open the gap between them. “Tony’s on the Shiv, which is the fastest bike in the world. Cancellara’s now on a Trek, which isn’t the same,” he adds.

Martin will retain the same machine next year when he moves to the Omega Pharma – Quick Step team and, he hopes, will once again dominate this aspect of the sport. As for the Tour de France, Pruitt believes he’ll have to think hard about what he could achieve and what he might have to give up on to do so.

The Tour is the biggest race, but continuing as the best time trialist in the world may outweigh the uncertain chance of chasing three-week success.

VeloNation will have more analysis soon from Pruitt on the sport’s top stars.


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