(Photo: Yuzuru Sunada)
Tony Martin is one of the revelations of this year's Tour. The Columbia-HTC rider won the time trial at the Criterium International, a stage and second overall at the Tour of Switzerland. However, it is here at the Tour de France that Martin has vaulted into prominence. In only his first Tour de France, Martin held the white jersey of best young rider for over a week and a half and was just beaten into second place on the Tour's queen stage up Mount Ventoux. Road Bike Action
sat down with Martin to get an inside look at the Tour de France through the eyes of one of the peloton's rising stars.
Road Bike Action:
What is the most important thing you have learned from your first Tour de France?
I learned that I can stay in the mountains with the top 15 riders which is a good experience for me and I hope that maybe in the future I can go better and better. Maybe in a few years I can fight for the top five on GC.
How has the team been working for you in the mountains?
The team has been working great for me. I had support from everybody. Bert Grabsch was working on the flats to keep me at the front. Michael Rogers, George Hincapie and Maxine Monfort were with me in the mountains and tried to support me. It is a good feeling to have all the support from the team. It is also good for the team spirit.
Martin in White
(Photo: Roberto Bettini)
You had good form in the Tour of Switzerland, but did you expect to be climbing this well in the Tour de France?
No. I have always said that the Tour de France is much harder then the Tour of Switzerland and so it is. But, that I can do so well in the mountains at the Tour de France I did not expect. I am happy that I can do it now. I hope that I can stay in the top 10 in the third week.
How do you expect the third week to play out with the fight for the white jersey?
I think to fight for the white jersey is really hard because what you could see yesterday Andy Schleck is one of the best two riders in the mountains. I think he will finish on the podium in the GC so I think that (white jersey) is really hard for me. I would be lucky if I could finish top 10 overall and that would be really great for me and that is the goal for the third week.
Let's talk about your background. Did you think that someday you would be a GC rider or is that something you just realized in the last year or so?
I knew I would be a GC rider, but I expected to be that in little stage races like Tour of Romandie or Paris-Nice. Now we are here in the Tour de France and it is the biggest stage race. I didn't expect that I could do it so well this year. Maybe I wanted to do well in the future, but not this year.