Oh, Tony. So agonisingly close to surely one of the most outstanding Grand Tour stage wins of all time.
On stage 6 of the Vuelta from Guijuelo to Cáceres, a 175km stage with an average speed of 44.8km/h, the German time trial world champion spent a remarkable 174.98km in the lead.
The commentators were delivering his eulogy from the 30km mark. For any other rider they’d have been right, of course. But Tony Martin is different. His tolerance for suffering is simply stratospheric. Mouth agape as always, he kept on going like a metronome on crack. Try as they might the scorching bunch just couldn’t peg him back over the final 10km…until, in an act of cruelty to rival the local Banderilleros, Saxo-Tinkoff’s Michael Morkov shot by to nail him right in the shadows of the finish line. Martin still finished 7th in an incredible performance. One of the finest individual rides I’ve ever seen.