They call him the Panzerwagen, and there was little to stop world time trial champion, Tony Martin, from demolishing the field on stage 20 of the 2014 Tour de France.
Clearly discontented by the inclusion of just one time trial in this 101st edition of cycling’s greatest race, the Omega Pharma-Quick-Step star had already created one of his own by winning stage nine with a crushing display of solo riding. No one, it seemed, had told him it was a road stage.
Reassured by the appearance of a start ramp at the beginning of Saturday’s 54km run from Bergerac to Périgueux, and by a regular succession of two-minute men to pass, Martin wasted little time in adding a second stage victory to a Tour campaign he would later describe as “perfect”.
Fastest at both intermediate check points and fastest of all by the end of the 54km run from Bergerac to Périgueux, a victory achieved with an eye-watering 58-11 gear, the manner of Martin’s victory was truly impressive.
His closest rivals in the time trial in recent years, four-time world champion, Fabian Cancellara (Trek), and Olympic champion, Sir Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) were both absent, but it’s unlikely that the presence of either would have altered the result.
Official UCI WorldTour photographer, Stefano Sirotti, was on hand to shoot these striking images of Martin’s latest, emphatic victory.