Egoi Martinez pleased with progress in view of the Tour de France
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Saturday, June 9, 2012

Egoi Martinez pleased with progress in view of the Tour de France

by Kyle Moore at 7:07 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Critérium du Dauphiné
Basque veteran embraces role as ‘domestique extraordinaire’

Egoi MartinezEgoi Martinez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) showed that his condition heading into the Tour de France is where it needs to be, as the Basque rider took part in his second breakaway of the Critérium du Dauphiné.

On Friday’s stage 5, he and his fellow escapees made it to the finish ahead of the Team Sky-led peloton, and Martinez was able to manage second after Arthur Vichot (FDJ-BigMat) went solo with six kilometers left for the win.

The Basque climber won the sprint for second ahead of Dmitriy Fofonov (Astana) and Remi Di Gregorio (Cofidis), 26 seconds after Vichot had celebrated his solo victory. After the stage, he was happy with the indication that his preparations for his ninth Tour de France were going well.

“The preparation for the Tour is on track,” Martinez remarked after the Dauphiné stage. “I have worked hard and I’m pleased to see the result of my training in the race. Also, I’m happy to have had the energy to contest the stage win. Advancing in age and still being in contention for a victory has encouraged me a lot.”

It was a while before the day’s breakaway would be established on stage 5, the first primary mountain stage of the Tour de France warm up race. Over the top of the first of three climbs, the Côte de Corlier, Martinez got away with Fofonov, Di Gregorio, Vichot, Kevin Reza (Europcar), José Sarmiento (Liquigas-Cannondale), Dani Navarro (Saxo Bank) and Fabrice Jeandesbosz (Saur-Sojasun).

On the front of the peloton, Sky Procycling let them go, and they had achieved a fairly healthy gap before Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) escaped on the descent of Le Grand Colombier, forcing Sky to chase and sending the gap tumbling.

But once Evans was back in the main bunch, Sky was content to save energy and let the break have its day. It did not always work well together, and for a while, it appeared as if Martinez would benefit from this. He remained largely sheltered as others tried moves off the front, though the 34-year-old never had trouble in helping to close gaps.

While it was Vichot who made the decisive move and not Martinez, the Basque rider was philosophical at the finish.

“We all like to win, but it is very difficult to succeed in finishes with so many men in the break,” Martinez continued. “There are not many opportunities, but to grab any of them, you have to be in the escape. If you are not, it is impossible, so you have to appreciate that effort.”

Martinez has raced his entire professional career with Euskaltel-Euskadi, save for a two-year stint in 2006 and 2007 with the Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team. In an impressive feat, he has done the Tour de France-Vuelta a España double every year since 2006. To continue in that run this year, Martinez carries a diplomatic attitude about his role within the team.

“The last few years I am more focused on being with Samuel [Sanchez], and I am comfortable with the work that I do,” Martinez admitted. “Over the years I have gained some experience, but I have lost some spark, so I work for a leader.”


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