Tony Martin feels ready to defend gold medal at world championships
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Saturday, September 15, 2012

Tony Martin feels ready to defend gold medal at world championships

by VeloNation Press at 7:39 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, World Championships
 
German rider believes Armstrong should lose titles if proof is there

Tony MartinHe’s had a very frustrating few months but Tony Martin believes he can turn things around completely by taking gold in the world time trial championships next week. Runner-up in the Olympic time trial, the German has had smoother preparation for this race, won’t face two key rivals and is fired up by the thoughts of taking his second rainbow jersey in a row.

“At the World Championships I am ready to push myself hard with a purpose,” he told Trainingsworld.com. "It feels like I am ready to be world champion [again], also considering that Wiggins and Cancellara are not there. So I move automatically into the favourite’s role. The opportunity to become world champion is great and I'd love to defend the title.”

Martin was seen as Cancellara’s big rival last year and denied the Swiss rider what would have been his fifth gold medal when he powered around the Danish course. Cancellara took many risks to try to cope with his rival and eventually clipped a barrier, staying upright but coming to a halt. That cost him the silver medal, Bradley Wiggins picking it up instead.

Wiggins went on to the best season of his career this year, winning the Tour de France and Olympic time trial. For Martin, the season has been a quieter one; after a solid start with second in the Volta ao Algarve then third in the time trial and fifth overall in the Vuelta al Pais Vasco, he was hit by a car while training in April. While he was able to recover and win the Tour of Belgium, he punctured in the first two time trials in the Tour, ruining his chances there.

More seriously, he also crashed and fractured a bone in his hand. This eventually forced him to drop out of the race, and compromised his Olympic preparation.

Martin was 42 seconds behind Wiggins but, despite the defeat, says the experience and the silver medal made a big impression on him.

“There is no doubt that the Olympic Games is the much larger event. I think for any athlete who has taken part, it has a much larger role [than the worlds – ed.]. It's the same for me. It was an indescribably beautiful experience to have,” he said. “Winning the silver medal has made me forget all the bad luck, such as the training accident where I collided with a car or the scaphoid injury. There’s definitely more emotion at the Olympics than at the world championships and I am very happy with the medal.”

Apart from the individual time trial, he has another chance to pick up a gold when he lines out with his Omega Pharma Quick Step team-mates in Sunday’s first-ever worlds time trial for trade teams. He said that while other squads have spent a lot of time preparing for the event, his team-mates have had a more separated approach.

Still, he’s confident in how they can do. “I think we have over the year shown at several team time trials that we can get very good results,” he said. “So I am very optimistic that we will find a good strategy. We will certainly be co-favourites at the start and are highly motivated to fight for the victory.

Martin on Contador, Armstrong:

Trainingsworld also asked the German his views on Alberto Contador’s success in the Vuelta a España after returning from a doping suspension, plus the multiple disqualifications handed down to Lance Armstrong.

He said that he has a clear position on the subject, but that the Spaniard’s situation was not a straightforward one. He was likely referring to the fact that the Court of Arbitration for Sport found him guilty as regards his Clenbuterol case, but also said that it was most likely a case of a tainted supplement.

“First of all, I am fundamentally against doping,” he said. “I think you have to see it [the Contador situation] a bit differently, because this whole process was very ambivalent. Did he dope? Did he not dope? That's still not entirely clear.

“Related not only to Contador but generally, I find it always very questionable when doped riders return and then get great results. This is certainly bad for the sport and unfortunately also manages to throw a shadow on cycling. I prefer it when young clean riders are to the fore rather than doping offenders who return.”

As for Armstrong, he is clear on what should happen to his wins if USADA has indeed built a compelling case. “If it is proven that he has doped in the events in question, then of course the titles should be taken away. When a winner at the Olympic Games is convicted of doping, the gold medal is taken away, and so it is also in cycling. I think no exceptions should be made,” he stated.

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