Today is Stage 20: the one and only time trial. I have been following Tony Martin’s career since he rode for Columbia HTC. He has mastered the discipline of the time trial where the best in the business maintain their focus and wattage for a solid 50 to 70 minutes.
Tony Martin, 3 time world time trial champion, crushed it!
This year Tony was put on the spot at the pre-Tour Team Presentation when they asked him how Mark Cavendish is as a leader. He froze. You could imagine the thought balloons above his head as he fished for something to say that would please the home crowd. Mark just leaned across the bikes and grinned at him. It reinforced the image some may have of a reserved Germanic machine.
Waiting outside the Omega Pharma Quick Step team bus yesterday at the departure, I saw the other side of Tony Martin. He has a charming smile and he has charisma. He also speaks English well and is very patient and polite with fans.
Yesterday the mechanics outfitted his bike with the on-bike camera. (They were going to upload the film to the OPQS website depending on how the race went; did not see anything on site).
I started the tour without a “favorite team” as I admire riders on BMC, Trek and other teams. Then standing at OPQS team area waiting for riders to wrap up their team meeting, I chatted with Davide Bramati, the sport director, and began to realize how many of their riders I admire. Of course there is Mark Cavendish. This video of Mark Cavendish in team car with Davide Bramati is fun.
Mark’s early departure meant that his teammates were freed up from recreating the lead train on possible sprint finishes and Matteo Trentin won stage 7 and Tony Martin won stage 9 and now stage 20.
This is the team where Brian Holm is also a sports director. I enjoyed watching him in the Tour movie Chasing Legends. Plus they have “Prince Harry” or Mark Renshaw.
In the first week, back in Yorkshire, (that feels like a million years ago) one of my Trek Travel teammates really like OPQS and now I can say they are my favorite team too.