PEZ: Thank you for talking to us Martin, we believe that Gerald Ciolek had a bad crash today, how is he?
Martin: Yes, but he’s OK, he has bruises but I think it will be possible for him to ride again tomorrow.
PEZ: What are Milram’s goals for the Vuelta?
Martin: We are going for the sprinter’s stages – like tomorrow, and I think we can do a good time trial; for the mountains we have Thomas Rohregger from Austria.
PEZ: And your goals?
Martin: I will go full gas in the time trial but the race is long and on the stages where the breakaways go, I hope to be able to join them.
Martin will be targeting the upcoming TT. He’ll also be looking to play his hand in a break.
PEZ: How was Holland?
Martin: I was a little sick to start with; but after the first stage I felt better and I worked for the team.
On the wet stage, Gerald crashed so it’s good to be out of the rain and racing under the sun – it’s been a strange start to the Vuelta.
PEZ: A good stage win for Gerald.
Martin: Yes, it was a surprise – but a nice one for us; and it has brought us a lot of confidence to the team.
PEZ: How was the transfer?
Martin: For everyone it was the same, a long day, but we were all in the same plane.
Holland was interesting for the fans; there were thousands of people watching on those stages – that was very good.
PEZ: But you’re glad to be in Spain?
Martin: It was good to have the rest day between the northern and Spanish stages, it let us acclimatise to the heat – there was 20 degrees of difference in temperature between stages four and five.
PEZ: This is your second Vuelta…
Martin: Yes, I enjoyed last year, I got in some good breaks but we never made it to the finish; I also rode a good time trial and came out of the race with the best legs I had all year.
I have no thoughts about the GC, I want to do a good time trial then get in the breaks in the second week.
PEZ: What’s your favourite type of racing?
Martin: This year I made the early spring my objective – from Het Nieuwsblad to the Amstel Gold. I rode well at Het Nieuwsblad but had bad luck at the finish line – I came down in the big crash. I had a little inflammation from the crash, but was happy how the spring went, through the Classics and the short stage races – I’m going to ride a similar programme for the spring of 2010.
Martin on the Muur in April.
PEZ: You turned pro with Konica, the South African team.
Martin: Yes, it’s a little unusual bit of an unusual route. After we finished school we rode for a Slovakian team for one year but really we wanted to ride for a European team. We couldn’t get organised with a French, Belgian or Italian team but we got the opportunity to ride for Konica. It was a lot of fun, a family team, we rode six months of the year in South Africa and six months in Europe – I have nothing but happy memories from that time.
Martin and Peter came under the tutelage of Classics strongman, Steffen Wesemann, whilst racing for Wiesenhof.
PEZ: Then you were pro continental with Wiesenhof.
Martin: It was also a small team with a family atmosphere, we could ride small races but also big races; Steffen Wesemann was on the team, coming to the end of his career and we learned so much from him – of course, that season ended with Peter winning the world under 23 championships.
Peter winning the U23 Worlds Road Race over Sulzberger and Bellis.
PEZ: Was it a big jump from Wiesenhof to Milram?
Martin: We did a lot of big races with Wiesenhof but of course Milram is a big team with more riders and more pressure – but that’s where we wanted to be, what we always dreamed of.
PEZ: You and Peter are twins but who was born first?
Martin: Me, so yes, I’m ‘big brother!’
PEZ: Peter isn’t riding the Vuelta.
Martin: No, he did the Tour and San Sebastian; then he had a rest and will be back for the late season Belgian and Italian races – he will probably finish his season after the Worlds.
Martin and Peter.
PEZ: Who do you room with if Peter isn’t on the race?
Martin: In the early season, Niki Terpstra – we both ride the classics, but since then it has changed around a lot.
PEZ: You won the Slovakian Elite Championships this year.
Martin: I was twice the under 23 champion in the past and was very happy and proud to win the Elite title, this year. I like to wear the colours of national champion, to show them off, people recognise the jersey – it’s a good feeling.
With thanks to Martin for taking the time to talk to us, we’ll be talking to him again before this Vuelta finishes. And before you reach for the keyboard, yes Martin crossed the line second in the Slovak champs, but was first Elite to do so, the winner ‘on the road’ was an Espoir.