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To say that all eyes will be on Tony Martin at the start of this year’s Tour de France is no understatement. After all the 32-year-old German has a unique opportunity to win the Tour’s first yellow jersey in front of his native crowd, as the 14-kilometer opening time trial appears ideally suited to Martin, the four-time world time trial champion. Obviously there are no guarantees when it comes to the Tour, but it would be a story made for Hollywood, as Martin’s family escaped East Germany and he grew up in the newly unified Germany during the 1990s. A victory for Martin in Düsseldorf, would be a victory for modern Germany. Peloton Magazine caught up with Martin last week for our upcoming special German Issue. Here are a few excerpts. To subscribe to PELOTON you’ll find our best deals here.
Words and images by James Startt, European Associate to Peloton Magazine
Peloton Magazine: The Tour de France is starting in Germany for the first time in 30 years. What is the mood like? There must be a lot of excitement building?
Tony Martin: Oh yeah! Absolutely! What Düsseldorf has created is just amazing and the Tour de France is all over the media. There is just tons of interest. I am looking forward to it.
Peloton: I remember the first time we sat down, back in 2011, Germany was going through a rough period in cycling. German television had stopped covering the Tour as a result of the doping scandals that involved a fair number of German riders from the previous generation. You were one of the young hopes for the country and you also felt responsibility in regaining the respect of your country in the sport. With the start of the Tour in Düsseldorf, if feels as though Germany has come full circle in its enthusiasm for the Tour and cycling in general….
Martin: Yeah, when I started my career German cycling was really on the ground. Nobody wanted to see cycling any more it seemed. And now, 10 years later, we have the start of the Tour de France in Germany! Nobody would ever have expected this just a couple of years ago. I’m really proud to be one of the reasons for the renewed success of the sport today in Germany.
Peloton: Well in some ways, the start of this year’s Tour is tailor made for you with a 14-kilometer opening time trial. I’m sure that I am not the first person to say that you have a unique opportunity to grab the yellow jersey and wear it across your native Germany?
Martin: No, I’m aware of this! It’s a one-time chance and the pressure is high. It won’t be an easy day, but I am super motivated and if ever I win the TT and wear yellow, well, for sure, that would be one of the biggest days of my career. I haven’t seen the course yet, but I’ve studied videos. I will ride it in the week. But I like what I’ve seen so far. It suits me. There are long straightaways. It’s a course where you can get a good rhythm. Hopefully I can find my rhythm and take it all the way to the finish.