Tony Martin's cycling Sunday started with a big announcement

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and ended without the hoped-for World Cup sensation.

Only a few hours after he had declared his career end after the title fights in Flanders, the 36-year-old veteran missed the medal in his last World Championship individual time trial.

“I think he's a cycling legend and a role model for others in the time trial,” said team-mate Max Walscheid after Martin's sixth place after 43.3 flat kilometers from Knogge-Heist to Bruges.

Because of the feasible profile and its rising shape, the 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2016 champion had hoped for even more. But the big stage at the start of the anniversary World Cup in cycling-crazy Belgium belonged to others. World champion was defending champion Filippo Ganna from Italy, followed by the two Belgian local heroes Wout van Aert and Remco Evenepoel. Tour de France winner Tadej Pogacar from Slovenia was clearly behind in tenth place, his compatriot Primoz Roglic did not even start on the flat specialist route.

Martin was 34 seconds short of the precious metal he had hoped for, which he can only achieve on Wednesday in the time trial mixed, the last race of his career. “Such a far-reaching decision is of course not easy for you. Cycling has shaped most of my life so far. With ups and downs, great successes and defeats, falls and comebacks, ”said Martin.

The "armored car", as Martin is called, has had a turbulent year with many falls. It had long been clear to Martin that he would not fulfill his contract with Jumbo-Visma, which he had fixed until the end of 2022. The time of the announcement was chosen deliberately. "It shouldn't look like a frustration decision if he doesn't achieve the result he hoped for today," said the Bund Deutscher Radfahrer (BDR). The result was okay even without a medal.

On his journey to Belgium, Martin recently described how the heavy fall from this year's Tour de France is still bothering him. Because three teeth are loose at the front, he still has to eat bread or apples with cutlery. These are "the last construction sites that I will tackle after the end of the season," the Cottbuser announced to the German press agency. After the end of the season means in this case: from this Thursday, when the chapter on professional cycling has finally closed for Martin.

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