Volta ao Algarve: Paul Martens wins opening stage in Albufeira with uphill sprint
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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Volta ao Algarve: Paul Martens wins opening stage in Albufeira with uphill sprint

by Ben Atkins at 11:38 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, Volta ao Algarve
 
German takes first victory of the season after five-man break hunted down

paul martens

Paul Martens (Blanco) took his first victory of the season in the opening stage of the Volta ao Algarve with a fierce uphill sprint. The 29-year-old German managed to tear himself clear of the peloton at the end of the rolling 198.8km stage between Faro and Albufeira, on Portugal’s south coast, with Portuguese Tiago Machado (RadioShack-Leopard) in second place; Martens’ Blanco teammate Theo Bos won the bunch sprint for third.

"I am not a guy who wins a lot of races" said Martens with a big smile. "We have done great as a team. I was in front of the bunch when Machado jumped. Tom Leezer with Theo Bos in his wheel where behind me to leave the gap. I knew the final 500 meters where all downhill, so I kept his wheel for my final jump."

The stage was dominated by a break from Eduard Vorganov (Katusha), Sérgio Paulinho (Saxo-Tinkoff), Amets Txurruka (Caja Rural), Marco Corti (Colombia) and Chris Jones (UnitedHealthcare), who escaped in the opening kilometres. The five riders were never allowed to build much of an advantage, however, with the Omega Pharma-Quick Step team of 2011 World champion doing the lion’s share of pegging them back.

"We came to Portugal for a stage win," said Blanco directeur sportif Frans Maassen. "We are here to perform as a team, and it's great to start with an early victory. The first twenty kilometers where hard on the guys. Until the last kilometres everybody could stay in the front of the bunch to work for Theo Bos. That explains winning the bunch sprint.

The break was finally caught with eight kilometres to go, and the sprinters’ teams tried to keep things under control into the often complicated Albufeira finish; Martens was the strongest on the undulating finishing straight, however, with Machado just behind him.

"Omega Pharma-Quick Step controlled the race today," explained Bos. "We knew that we had to stay in the front the last 10 kilometres. After the jump from Paul, Tom's [Leezer] effort to keep me in position was great. It's awsome to complete the podium with a 3rd place next to my teammate Martens."

A ten-second time bonus on the line gave Martens the first yellow jersey of the race, with Machado and Bos four and six seconds behind respectively.

Result stage 1
1. Paul Martens (Ger) Blanco Pro Cycling
2. Tiago Machado (Por) RadioShack-Leopard
3. Theo Bos (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling
4. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) RadioShack-Leopard
5. Thomas Sprengers (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
6. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
7. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
8. Rui Costa (Por) Movistar
9. Alessandro Bazzana (Ita) UnitedHealthcare Procycling
10. Samuel Caldeira (Por) OFM-Quinta da Lixa

Standings after stage 1
1. Paul Martens (Ger) Blanco Pro Cycling
2. Tiago Machado (Por) RadioShack-Leopard @ 4s
3. Theo Bos (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling @ 6s
4. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) RadioShack-Leopard @ 10s
5. Thomas Sprengers (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
6. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
7. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
8. Rui Costa (Por) Movistar
9. Alessandro Bazzana (Ita) UnitedHealthcare Procycling
10. Samuel Caldeira (Por) OFM-Quinta da Lixa

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