Tony Martin’s Wednesday marked a couple of big milestones. For one, it was the last day of his professional cycling career. For another, it was his last win.
Over 14 years at the sport’s highest level – plus a couple as a Continental-level rider before that – the big German rider morphed from a time trial powerhouse to one of the sport’s great road captains.
His opening four years at the High Road/HTC/Columbia outfit saw him steadily improving, before his breakthrough season in 2011 which saw him claim his first Individual Time Trial World Championship, his first two Grand Tour stage wins, and the GC win at Paris-Nice.
That season precipitated a move to Quick Step for five years – a team at which he picked up his next three ITT World Champion jerseys, four Tour de France stage wins, and wore the yellow jersey for two stages at the 2015 edition of the race.
Two years at Katusha-Alpecin followed – a relatively lean period for Martin that nonetheless included successive national time trial championships – before he moved to Jumbo-Visma in 2019. Although his powers were beginning to wane against younger, more dynamic rivals, Martin repurposed his enormous engine to be a super domestique and road captain. There, the tall German was a regular sight at the front of the peloton, reeling in the day’s breakaway with a calm, nonchalant air of inevitability.
Even when he wasn’t winning, Martin was omnipresent, and if not riding as a star in his own right, he was the consummate team player. The last year of his career saw him make global headlines at the Tour de France – it was Martin that ploughed first into the infamous ‘Omi Opi’ sign – before he returned to form to claim a fairytale last rainbow jersey in the mixed relay time trial.
In total, he ends his career with 67 victories – 50 of them in time trials. He rode 21 Grand Tours (including 13 Tours de France), won four individual time trial world championships, four team time trial world championships, an Olympic silver medal, took seven individual Grand Tour stage wins, and 10 national time trial championships.
Here is a selection of the ups and downs from a career that left a mark.