CyclingPub Feature: Tony Martin confident and motivated for 2017
Dec 05 2016 05:23 pm CET

CyclingPub Feature: Tony Martin confident and motivated for 2017
CyclingPub Feature: Tony Martin confident and motivated for 2017
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TONY MARTIN
TEAM KATUSHA

It's a time of many changes for World Time Trial champion Tony Martin. Just days after the birth of his daughter Mia, the German traveled to Spain to meet his new teammates at Katusha-Alpecin.

"My daugher was born almost one week ago so it's a bit strange for me to be away from home," he told the small group of journalists that had gathered to speak to the rider ahead of the team presentation at Benidorm's Grand Luxor Hotel.

It was too early to say much about his new team members, having arrived only a day earlier. "At first I wasn't even sure who were riders and who were bus drivers," he joked.

"From the physical side everything is fine. I already had some good trainings at home, I feel good, I am happy to be here so it's a really nice situation for me."

"It feels like a new start"

Changing teams is a big deal for any rider. Martin admits that it feels a bit strange but exciting at the same time. "It's a lot of new people around me, new ways, a new organization.. So I also have to get used to it. But I am also excited, I'm really looking forward to all the new things, what will come, what will change. So it really feels like a new start and it feels good."

After several years at the same team, Martin felt that it was time to make a change. "I was at a point in my career after nine years of being a professional and five years at Etixx where I said that 'I want and I need to change something, I need some different people around me, some new inputs', because I am human. I think everybody knows the situation where you have the same things to do every week, month or year and you may have less inspiration and motivation.

"For sure, the success was not that big last year either so I needed to change something. That doesn't mean that Etixx was not a good team for me. It was a perfect team for me but I needed to change something to get new inputs and new motivations, that's why I chose to go to another team.

"Soon we had some good talks with Katusha, they explained their new international project to me, the way they want to go in the future, the partners they want to work with. With Alpecin it now feels like half a German team. Canyon is a brand I was always looking to and I think they do a really good job and they can also be a really good partner for me in the future. These are all reasons why I wanted to try this project. Whether it's the right way or the wrong way you can only say after one or two years but for the moment it feels right and I am really happy to be part of this team."
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Tony Martin (Katusha-Alpecin presentation, Benidorm 2016)
Photos by Mary Cárdenas / CyclingPub.com

Is Canyon better than Specialized? "We'll see"

After many years working with Specialized, Martin is now making the switch to Canyon. The rider feels optimistic about this move. "I think Canyon is a perfect partner for me. Their company is only an hour away from my home town in Germany. The ways are short and we speak the same language. I think it fits really well and that is one of the reasons why I wanted to go with Katusha and Canyon."

"I never tried the Canyon and I didn't know that the Canyon bike is better than Specialized," he adds. Asked whether it is in fact better, Martin thinks a moment and provides the journalists with a smile and a "we'll see".

With the arrival of Martin and other time trial specialists, Katusha seems to have significant ambitions for time trials in 2017. "It's a pretty surprising situation and especially Marco Mathis came pretty late but now we have a big crowd of time trial specialists, especially also for the world team trial championships at the end of the year. I think we will be one of the favorites and you can already feel it in the team. Everybody is motivated and I think we will also show before, in the races, maybe more in the flat stages, that we have more horsepower and can be offensive to go for victories."

"Just take a decision, then we can follow it"

Asked about the latest argument between UCI and some of the race organizers such as ASO and RCS Sport - regarding the reduction of teams for Grand Tours and other big races to only eight riders - Martin says that "it would be nice to have one less rider per team in the race. It makes the race more open, especially for riders like me who like to ride offensively. It's always easier to go against eight riders than nine in big tours".

"About the fight, I don't know. It's political as always. We have too many discussions in cycling. Just take a decision, then we can follow it."

"Two Gold Medals made my life so much easier"

The 2016 season wasn't exactly what Martin had hoped for but winning both the individual and team time trials at the World Championships had a big positive impact on Martin's confidence, he explains. "First of all it gave me a lot of morale and self-confidence to go to Katusha. It's always hard to come to a new team after a disappointing year and you don't know where you stand, what to expect and what your new team is thinking about you

"Sure, two Gold medals made my life so much easier. I can really feel that everybody is really happy to have a world champion in the team. So it's really good for my morale, for my motivation, also for the winter training and the first races. It's a good feeling, for sure. For the first time trials it will give me a lot morale and confidence. It also leads me back to my old morale, my old strategy in time trials. I know how to go fast again in time trials. I lost my way a bit this year but now I'm back."

Motivated but careful ahead of Tour de France

With the start of the Tour de France taking place in the German city of Dusseldorf, Martin sees an excellent opportunity to take the Yellow Jersey once again. "It doesn't happen so often that the Tour de France comes to Germany and even with a prologue, which is already a short time trial. I don't want to put too much pressure on myself because there are still Rohan Denis and Tom Dumoulin who will also be really strong and motivated for this day but after the classics for sure I will be focused 100 percent on this day. With Alpecin being a German sponsor it's even more important. I know this and I will prepared the best way I can."

Another goal for the 31-year-old from Cottbus is winning a fifth World Championships title. He knows it won't be easy though to achieve that this year though, considering the hilly parcours in Bergen, Norway. "From what I can see on the picture it's pretty hard, I will fight for it but my chances may not be that big. Maybe I will have to skip this year and look for it another year."

Although there is still some time left, Martin has a pretty clear picture of what the first part of his season will look like. "I will start with Valencia, Algarve and then I think Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, Omloop het Volk and probably Paris-Nice."

By Jonathan Roorda
Photo of Tony Martin by Mary Cárdenas / CyclingPub.com





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