Tour of Belgium: Tony Martin in pole position after time trial victory
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Saturday, May 25, 2013

Tour of Belgium: Tony Martin in pole position after time trial victory

by Ben Atkins at 6:45 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, Tour of Britain
 
World time trial champion set to defend his 2012 race title

tony martinTony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) put himself into pole position to defend his race title in the 2013 Tour of Belgium with an imperious victory in a wet stage three time trial in Beveren, near Antwerp. The World time trial champion’s time of 17 minutes and 42 seconds for the 15km course was fully 40 seconds quicker than second best finisher, Tom Dumoulin (Argos-Shimano), and 43 seconds quicker than third place Artem Ovechkin (RusVelo), to give the German a commanding lead in the general classification.

"I don't know what the conditions for the others were, but I had wet roads," Martin said afterwards. "I had to slow down a bit in the corners but also take a few risks. So, I'm really amazed that I'm in the lead and also with a big gap. I hope it stays now like this until the end. It would be really great for me and the team. The roads are really hard in the last two days, especially the last day. So, I think it will be much more work than last year. But we have a very strong team as you can see by all the riders we have in the top five GC and top 10 stage classifications. So, we will do our best to protect the race lead with a great group."

Following his freak crash on stage one, Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) was last in the general classification by some way and so was first to start the time trial, and the Frenchman’s time of 19’51” was not to sit at the top of the standings for very long.

The first really fast time was set just over half an hour after Voeckler had finished, however, as Alexander Serov (RusVelo) finished in a time of 18’28”. Ben Hermans (RadioShack-Leopard) then finished just fractions of a second slower than the Russian, before Serov’s RusVelo teammate Ovechkin went three seconds quicker with 18’25”.

Ovechkin himself was in the hot seat for little more than half an hour, until Dumoulin lowered the best time by another three seconds, to 18’22”, but the Dutchman was blasted off the top spot just over ten minutes later as Martin went 40 seconds faster with 17’42”.

Nobody else was able to trouble the podium places and, with stage one and two winner André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) finally finishing 1’39” outside Martin’s time, the race leader’s jersey officially passed over to the German’s shoulders.

tony martinWith two hilly stages in the southern Belgian region of Wallonia to come, Martin was now in the ideal position to successfully defend his 2012 race title, although Omega Pharma-Quick Step directeur sportif Tom Steels refused to take this for granted.

"The parcour wasn't so technical, but the rain complicated a lot the things," said the former Belgian champion. "Tony had to ride in the rain, so in all the corners he had to slow down; but he really went fast in the straight part of the parcours. He really had confidence in his materials and tires today.

“Concerning the GC, we will face two difficult stages. Especially on Sunday, it's a really hard stage it's going to be tricky. He has a good advantage, but it will be a fight until the end."

Result stage 3
1. Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma-Quick Step, 15km in 17’42”
2. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Argos-Shimano @ 40s
3. Artem Ovechkin (Rus) RusVelo @ 43s
4. Alexander Serov (Rus) RusVelo @ 46s
5. Ben Hermans (Bel) RadioShack-Leopard
6. Kristoff Vandewalle (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step @53s
7. Damien Gaudin (Fra) Team Europcar @ 56s
8. Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step @ 1’00”
9. William Clarke (Aus) Argos-Shimano
10. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma-Quick Step @ 1’01”

Standings after stage 3
1. Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
2. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Argos-Shimano @ 40s
3. Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step @ 50s
4. Kristoff Vandewalle (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step @53s
5. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma-Quick Step @ 59s
6. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team @ 1’04”
7. Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC Racing Team @ 1’11”
8. Stijn Devolder (Bel) RadioShack-Leopard
9. Luis León Sánchez (Spa) Blanco Pro Cycling @ 1’16”
10. Alexey Tsatevitch (Rus) Katusha Team @ 1’17”

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