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Tony Martin: I am ready to take on leadership in the coming season

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Just days after the birth of his daughter Mia, Tony Martin traveled to Spain to meet his new teammates at Katusha-Alpecin.

“It was very difficult to leave. I’m very happy. I enjoyed the days at home. I’m glad the kid is doing really well. It’s very nice to have this unique experience,” the German told Eurosport. “If I’m lying here alone in bed, I think of my two women home at. That is very difficult for me.”

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.”

“For me it is a change to speak so much German. I never did that at HTC or Quickstep. It feels like every second person speaks German here, be it the sponsors, the riders or the staff. It is a nice atmosphere for me. In German I feel more comfortable, of course,” confessed Martin. “You can see that the team has opened up. It has become more international and has probably gone away from the Russian character, and I feel very, very good about what I have seen so far.”

Although this year’s attempt at the cobbled classics failed, Martin does not want to change his program much. “Last year was a lot of fun. I rode more as a domestique. I think that I am ready to take on leadership in the coming season, and to get some results for myself,” he said. “That’s the theory. Whether this is possible in practice is another matter. But that is my goal. I will be preparing for that.”

Regarding the proposals to reduce the team sizes in the races, the time trial world champion says: “I am very pleased with the debate and the suggestions and I would be delighted if the teams would be smaller and the races more open. That would give more surprises. The races would be more aggressive. I am a rider who likes to attack before the actual finale. Then it makes a difference whether the team tries to catch me with seven or eight riders,” he said.