Palermo (dpa) – What Tony Martin casually calls “retirement life” would be absolute torture for most people.
The cycling veteran has just completed 3484 kilometers in the Tour de France and, starting October 3rd (1:10 p.m. / Eurosport 2), after a break of less than two weeks, is preparing to tear down another 3497 kilometers in the Giro d’Italia.
But the marathon on the bike has a good private reason: Martin is going to be the father of a daughter for the second time in autumn and is therefore already taking part in the Giro instead of the Vuelta as originally planned – without a long break.
“The date would then probably collide with the Vuelta. For this reason, I decided with the team that I would rather drive the Giro,” said the 35-year-old of the ARD “Sportschau” with reference to the due date. For the four-time time trial world champion Martin, there was no question that he would lag behind in terms of sport in order to be able to fully enjoy the family happiness. “The degree of recovery is not optimal. But in that case I have to say: Family comes before sport. That’s why we tried to find a compromise here,” he said.
Martin’s ordeal is a symbol of the compressed calendar, which after a four and a half months Corona break provides for all important races from August to November. A look at the dates for the Giro shows how close the calendar is this autumn: If you decide on the tour that starts in Palermo on Saturday and ends on October 25 in Milan, you can neither go to the Belgian classics nor to Paris-Roubaix or the Vuelta start.
Paris-Nice winner Maximilian Schachmann sees the exertions for the professionals not uncritically. “Of course it’s not easy this year. The whole season is even more stressful and exhausting than a normal season – also because we trained a lot during the lockdown because everything was canceled bit by bit,” Schachmann told the German press -Agency. He himself decided not to start the Giro and instead plans to take part in three important classics.
Helper Martin, who neutralized the dangerous stage at the start of the tour in Nice and thus demonstrated his exposed position in the field of drivers, should meet the Giro with a total of three time trials. But according to his own statement, the ex-world champion no longer has the really big sporting ambitions. “In principle, I have the most stressful phase of my career behind me and can now enjoy the retirement life in cycling a little. I am still part of the success, but I no longer have the very big burdens. I am currently enjoying that,” said Martin .
While he worked as a tireless pacemaker in France for the Slovenian captain Primoz Roglic, the Dutchman Steven Kruijswijk is now the Jumbo Visma driver for the overall classification at the Giro. Martin likes to take on the enormous exertion. “It’s exhausting – especially when you know you have to work a lot on the flat. It’s very, very hard,” he explained. Driving for a captain like Roglic makes you “forget the pain,” added Martin. In addition to Kruijswijk, ex-Tour winner Geraint Thomas from Great Britain and local hero Vincenzo Nibali are big favorites at the Giro.