Tony Martin says he’s now confident about winning the Tour of Beijing
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Friday, October 07, 2011

Tony Martin says he’s now confident about winning the Tour of Beijing

by Shane Stokes at 12:31 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
World time trial champion believes he’ll control his rivals in final two stages

Tony MartinHaving seen his second-biggest rival lose over eight minutes on today’s third stage and preserved his 17 second lead over David Millar (Garmin-Cervélo), Tour of Beijing leader Tony Martin now believes that he will win the WorldTour race on Sunday.

“It was the most difficult stage for sure but I expect the next two days to be for the sprinters,” he said after getting another red leader’s jersey. “I am confident that we can now defend the jersey until Sunday.”

Martin came under attack from several of his rivals today, but his HTC Highroad team was more than up to the task of defending his lead. The biggest danger came when Chris Froome (Sky Procycling), who had started the day fourth, 26 seconds back, got clear on the final climb and crested the summit with a clear gap on the bunch.

He and Nicolas Roche (Ag2r La Mondiale) had bridged across to Roche’s fellow Irishman Philip Deignan (RadioShack), who had gone clear at the start of the climb. The trio were completely committed in ensuring that they would stay away, but the only gain was by stage winner Roche and Deignan, who reached the line one second clear of the peloton. Froome lost ground in the sprint and just held on to third, but didn’t make up any time.

It was clearly mission accomplished for the HTC Highroad riders, who drove the pace when an early break built a lead of three minutes, and who also put Alex Dowsett (Sky Procycling) into trouble. The time trial specialist had started the day second overall, 24 seconds back, but cracked in the mountains and lost a chunk of time. He’s consequently no longer any threat to Martin.

Given the strength of his team, perhaps the only way that German’s rivals would have made up the necessary time is if he crashed. However he said that there were no issues and little threats. “The road quality was really good. It was always safe, so I was always really confident,” he explained.

Tomorrow’s penultimate stage is the longest of the race, running 189.5kilometres. While there are climbs between the start in Yan Qing Gui Chuan Square and the finish at the Shunyi Olympic Rowing/Canoeing Centre, they are either category two or three and therefore are much less severe than those of today. A bunch sprint is highly likely, and seems even more certain on Sunday’s pan-flat 118 kilometre concluding leg from Tian An Men Square to Bird's Nest Olympic Stadium.

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