• Martin suffered through the rain in Dusseldorf. (Getty)Source: Getty
World time trial champion Tony Martin (Katusha) may have been the nailed-on favourite to take victory yesterday, but wild weather put paid to his ambitions of wearing yellow on home turf.
Cycling Central

2 Jul 2017 - 10:36 AM 

The four-time world champion initially looked good to take the victory, clocking up the fastest time of 9:19 at the only checkpoint on the 14km flat course. But he faded over the second half of the course, coming in eight seconds slower than eventual stage winner Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) to take fourth.

Martin was disappointed not to win, but gracious in defeat.

“I was totally on the limit,” said Martin. “The TT was difficult for me with all the rain and corners. It disrupted my rhythm a bit, but for everyone it was the same. I will have to analyze my race. I was on the limit the last 4km and lacked a little power in the last two, but that’s a TT, that’s racing.”

Tony Martin was still appreciative of the warm reception from the German crowds.

“It was absolutely amazing to ride through the streets of Düsseldorf. There was so much motivation for me.

"I couldn’t hear my radio because everyone was shouting for me.

"That’s the big thing I take away from here. I still have a few goals to reach for this year.”

Marcel Kittel (Quickstep) also put forward a strong performance in his home country, coming in ninth with a time of 16m20s.

"I can't tell you how happy I am to start the Tour de France in front of my countrymen. It's incredible how many people came here today and it makes me proud that my country is celebrating the sport again", said a smiling Kittel at the finish line.

"The time trial is a painful discipline, but I enjoyed it. With all these fantastic fans cheering for me from the start, I was riding in a tunnel of noise and it was really cool. That motivated me even more do get a good result today", concluded the German.

Kittel is among the favourites to win Stage 2 from Dusseldorf to Liege, which is likely to end in a sprint finish.