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"My condition is good. Worlds really motivated me to get ready for the Tour of Beijing as well, but to be honest the parcours this year is not really for me. There is no TT and there are a few uphill finishes," Martin says

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ALESSANDRO PETACCHI

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CARLOS VERONA QUINTANILLA

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DECEUNINCK - QUICK-STEP

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JULIEN VERMOTE

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MICHAL GOLAS

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NIKOLAS MAES

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STIJN VANDENBERGH

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TONY MARTIN

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TOUR OF BEIJING

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ZDENEK STYBAR

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09.10.2013 @ 16:54 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Tony Martin is the only rider to have won the Tour of Beijing, having been triumphed in 2011 and 2012, but the Omega Pharma-Quick Step rider expects his string to come to an end in this year's edition. A hillier course with a tough summit finish makes the German cautious ahead of his title defence.

 

Tony Martin is a triple time trial world champion but may also be known as "Mr. Tour of Beijing". The German has won both previous editions of the Chinese race that starts on Friday and brings the 2013 WorldTour to a close.

 

In 2011, Martin won the opening time trial and successfully defended his jersey all the way to the end on the mostly flat course. Last year, there was no time trial and so Martin created his own when he attacked from afar on the second stage and held off his rivals to win both the stage and lay the foundations for what would be a second overall win in the race.

 

This year Martin is back to defend his title but a changed course has made him less optimistic for his title defence. For the first time ever, the organizers have included a tough summit finish on a 15km climb that is likely to determine the GC and while Martin is a solid climber, he may struggle to keep up with the true mountain specialists in this kind of finish.

 

Despite having shown good form at the recent world championships where he won both the team and individual time trials and in the Münsterland Giro one week later, Martin knows that a third win may be beyond his reach.

 

"I am happy to be here," he said. "My condition is good. Worlds really motivated me to get ready for the Tour of Beijing as well, but to be honest the parcours this year is not really for me. There is no TT and there are a few uphill finishes."

 

"It’s kind of at the end of the season, so it is a question of being committed to try and do my best to defend my title. This race in the past gave me a lot of luck and I was really happy to win the last two years. Even if this edition is difficult, I will try.”

 

Martin won't be the only weapon in his team's arsenal as they also line up veteran sprinter Alessandro Petacchi who will combine forces with recent World Ports Classic winner Nikolas Maes on the flat stages. Zdenek Stybar and Michal Golas are both punchy and fast riders well suited to the hillier stages and especially Golas has shown great form recently.

 

Martin sees the latter two as important weapons in the tactical battle

 

“Zdenek Stybar and Michal Golas, for example, can really play tactical roles in the team,” he explained. “So maybe they can also take advantage of the parcours. As for my presence at the race, we will have to change our tactic if we compare it with what did in the last two years. The team is good, so we are looking forward to this race — even with a different approach."

 

The team is completed by classics specialist Stijn Vandenbergh, young time trialist Julien Vermote and young climber Carlos Verona who will bring his maiden professional season to an end in Beijing. The race kicks off on Friday with a flat stage.

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