Tony Martin is the only rider ever to have won the Tour of Beijing, but a tougher course may see his reign come to an end this year.
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.
The Omega Pharma-Quick Step rider easily won the inaugural Tour of Beijing in 2011, due mainly to a dominant performance in the opening stage time trial. He returned last year to successfully defend his crown after a spectacular stage two solo breakaway.
The German powerhouse, who last month claimed his third-consecutive time trial world title, is expecting his winning run to come to an end with the tougher parcours ahead of the peloton for this third edition of the UCI WorldTour closer.
"I am happy to be here," said Martin. "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 is joined by team-mates Michal Golas, Nikolas Maes, Alessandro Petacchi, Zdenek Stybar, Stijn Vandenbergh, Julien Vermote, and Carlos Verona.
World Ports Classic overall winner Maes and Petacchi – the Italian veteran who joined the Belgian team in August - will work for the rare sprint opportunities.
Martin labels Stybar and Golas as “weapons” for the squad.
“Zdenek Stybar and Michal Golas, for example, can really play tactical roles in the team,” said Martin.
“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 2013 Tour of Beijing begins on Friday.
Omega Pharma-Quick Step for Tour of Beijing: Michal Golas (POL), Tony Martin (GER), Alessandro Petacchi (ITA), Zdenek Stybar (CZE), Stijin Vandenbergh (BEL), Julien Vermote (BEL), Carlos Verona (ESP), Nikolas Maes (BEL)
SBS will have daily highlights of the Tour of Beijing daily from Saturday 12 October on SBS ONE at 1730.