HTC Columbia's Tony Martin already lighter than 2009 Tour de France weight, Aldag nervous
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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Tony Martin already lighter than 2009 Tour weight, Aldag nervous

by Conal Andrews at 5:54 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 

Bradley Wiggins’ weight loss and subsequent fourth place in the 2009 Tour de France acted as a reminder that cycling is a constant battle against gravity. Paring body fat levels down while preserving strength is something that can benefit top riders, giving them better chances of climbing with the best in the mountains.

However there is a balancing act involved, as losing too much can impact on health and the body’s own immune defences.

The promising German rider Tony Martin has been working hard this winter and is currently two kilos lighter than he was during last year’s Tour, according to the Bild Zeitung newspaper. This means that his HTC Columbia directeur sportif Rolf Aldag is a little nervous.

“We must be careful that Tony does not lose any more,” said Aldag. “He currently has the weight he should have in July, when the Tour begins. And the season has not even started!”

Martin is 1.86 metres tall and currently weighs 75 kilograms. Aldag wants him to be careful and to ensure that his diet is adequate. “Measuring devices on the bike show how many calories have been burned. He must take a similar amount in in the evening.”

However Martin is confident that he knows what he is doing. “I know my body, I have mastered it,” he said.

His situation is the complete opposite to that which compatriot Jan Ullrich used to face. The 1997 Tour winner tended to be noticeably overweight at the start of each season, and would spend several months trying to get to his racing weight.

Martin is currently at the HTC Columbia training camp in Majorca. He had to cut back on his kilometres due to a pain in his knee, and will hope to have the issue rectified soon.

The 24 year old had a strong season in 2009, holding the white jersey of best young rider for much of the Tour de France, and finishing second on the penultimate stage to Mont Ventoux.

He also won the mountains classification in Paris-Nice, won a stage and finished second overall in the Tour de Suisse, and netted the bronze medal at the world time trial championships in Mendrisio, Switzerland. He is seen as a possible contender for future Tour de France victory, but is likely to have to sacrifice any GC ambitions this year in order to help team-mate Mark Cavendish win the Maillot Vert.

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