Thursday 23 September 2021
Tony Martin quits World Cup gold
“Every nation came and congratulated me”
Tony Martin ruled a comeback. The journey to gold in the World Mixed Championship remains the test’s final race, at the age of 36, the eight-time world champion finished his impressive career. Then he reveals what he aspires to and which “rule” he violates.
When Tony Martin answered the last question in the Bruges Hall, reporters began applauding his career accomplishments. The eight-time road cycling world champion and 2021 world championship gold medalist looked mixed up a bit awkward, but thanked him with a smile and finally bid farewell to the big stage. After a career that brought the 36-year-old not only titles and victories but also many falls, a new chapter has now begun for Martin.
Mr. Martin, that’s it for professional cycling.
Tony Martin: You should always stop when you are the prettiest. And I couldn’t have imagined a better day to say goodbye. Everything went fine. Our girls in particular have done very well. We’re a tight-knit team and we’re going to celebrate the gold and my farewell suitably – then that was for sure. First of all, I will enjoy my family time. Cycling shouldn’t be the focus – it has been for the past 20 years. I’m going to a future that doesn’t consist of plans.
How do you feel when your colleagues are all driving for you?
Yes, that really overwhelmed me. I didn’t really realize the pressure I was unconsciously accumulating. Everyone wanted to give their best, including me. Of course, that makes me a little embarrassed. Everyone who knows me knows that I don’t really like being the center of attention. I am so grateful that the boys and girls around me fought for me so much. I am happy with the gold for me personally, but also for the whole team. It is a successful day in all respects and a successful week in all respects.
Did things go smoothly during the race? You were waving backwards while driving, what was going on?
This was more about our coach, who pushed us hard on the radio. He was very excited. I wanted to focus more on racing, so it was like: “Now be calm, we’ll do it.” The race went very well.
Thursday, Friday, Saturday – what are the next few days?
Thursday, I’ll probably be in the car all day heading home. It’s a long ride, but it’s okay to be there for myself. Friday may start a bit of normal daily life with the family, who have their usual daily routine. I will not be traveling to the Maldives now and retiring early. But we will definitely be traveling with family soon, on a smaller scale.
How lovely to wear a rainbow shirt again at the end of your career?
It’s actually the best way to end a career. I am very, very grateful that my team made this possible. We were now 20-30 athletes in the tent and watched the race. After that, every nation came to me and congratulated me on my victory, but also throughout my career. It is really a great honor for me. This shows that I am well accepted as a person in this field. To me, that’s almost worth more than a gold medal.
What happens to the jersey and the gold medal?
Everyone who knows me knows that I am not a fan of cycling in my personal life. But of course, now that I’m no longer a professional rider, I can worry about whether I’m going to cut one shirt or the other. This shirt and this medal are sure to get a really great honor in the next few months.
Should you continue now because you see that you can still win?
No, I will not do it. But it’s also good to give up when you’re on top. After such a wonderful career, there is nothing worse than disappearing into oblivion and saying goodbye and no one cares. You definitely won’t see a comeback from me either.
Patrick Richardt spoke to Tony Martin, D
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