Tony Martin criticizes jury for expulsion from the Tour de France
Tony Martin, Born in 1985, is police chief - but has earned his money since 2008 as a professional cyclist. Four times he became world champion in the individual time trial, three times he won world championship gold with the team. In the Tour de France Martin, nicknamed "armored car", so far could win a total of five stages. This year he drives for the team Jumbo-Visma.
MIRROR ONLINE: Mr. Martin, the race jury's decision to exclude you and the British Luke Rowe from the Tour de France, refers to a scramble at the stage on Wednesday. What exactly happened in your opinion?
Martin: The whole thing took place in the final of the stage, in the approach to the final mountain. The top group was already through, so it was no longer about the day's victory, but just about to place my captain well, if attacks come from further back. Rowe had the same goal for his captain. It came to position battles, as they take place almost every kilometer. This positional battle has heated up and became a small scramble, which could then be seen on the TV pictures. I can only apologize for saying that we had driven for five hours, at 35 degrees, we were all annoyed at the end. And then it came to this unsightly situation.
MIRROR ONLINE: How did it continue on the track?
Martin: We have already discussed first violently, but then we spoke out and even drove handshaking over the finish line. We said goodbye and said: Tomorrow is a new one. We were completely clear again, because we know, this happens in the heat of the moment. That's the business.
MIRROR ONLINE: Have you looked at the TV pictures of the incident afterwards?
Martin: Yes. Because I wanted to check myself. Sometimes events are remembered differently than they actually were. And I also wanted to see how the images could have affected outsiders.
MIRROR ONLINE: How did the TV pictures affect you?
Martin: It was a fierce conflict that has gone a long way. She looks very unsportsmanlike. Since I go completely with. Where I do not go along, in my view, the very hard decision is to shut ourselves out and not give ourselves a chance to explain ourselves. Or give us a second chance.
MIRROR ONLINE: How did you hear about the exclusion of the race yesterday?
Martin: We had our hotel directly at the destination. When I arrived there, the sports director, Grischa Niermann, came to me and said: Tony, explain the situation to me, the race jury has asked the sports directors to come. Later he told me that he had arrived there and he was immediately informed that I was out. A hearing did not take place in principle. The thing had already eaten for the race jury at the time. It was clear that I can not drive. We then tried to straighten it out medially, also with a joint interview from myself and Luke, to present our point of view (in the video below, note d. Red.). We also tried to legally check the matter with our teams. And yes, we had at least a little hope. That's why I drove to the start this morning, prepared, had my pants and my racing jersey. That, if the go had come, then I can sit on the bike within three minutes. But when there was still no reaction 20 minutes before the start, I knew that would not work.
MIRROR ONLINE: How do you explain the jury's decision?
Martin: I think the jury wanted to make an example of us. In the run-up, there were scenes in which drivers had disabled others by driving them in their way. But this was sanctioned only with fines. I do not know if this has become too much for the jury, or if it just wanted to profile itself. There is now also a video jury, which indeed needs their permission, maybe she has found this with the action of yesterday.
MIRROR ONLINE: The route commissars reporting to the race jury are predominantly French. Do you think a French driver would have been disqualified?
Martin: I'm pretty sure that would not have been the case.
MIRROR ONLINE: Would this decision be imaginable in other cycling races?
Martin: I do not think so either. The cases where riders are excluded from racing are very, very rare. There are always disputes between drivers, where it sometimes becomes palpable in the beginning, without anyone being hurt. For sure there is a warning, but that in another race someone is sanctioned so hard, for an action that was absolutely safe in my view, I can not imagine.
MIRROR ONLINE: You have already outlined that you had made it clear this morning, in case the jury gave the green light.
Martin: Yes, I was at breakfast, packed my things, was ready to race. But honestly, the night was shitty. Of course, the whole thing also took me mentally. Especially in the third week of the tour counts every grain, and recovery is the most important thing. Who knows in what form I would have been if I had been allowed to start.
MIRROR ONLINE: Which reaction do you experience? Do you receive much encouragement?
Martin: I do not give anything to all these social media comments. But from the closest circle of acquaintances, I get a lot of encouragement. And also by people who understand a lot about cycling. They are outraged. Many say: who decides this, has never sat on the bike.