Martens happy over captain Freire's Milano-Sanremo win
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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Martens happy over captain Freire's Milano-Sanremo win

by Bjorn Haake at 12:26 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 

Paul Martens was a crucial link in the Rabobank chain that gave the win to the team's captain, Oscar Freire, in yesterday's Milano-Sanremo. Martens was at the side of his leader until the end and rolled over the line in 15th place.

He celebrated like he won himself. "I was super happy about his victory," Martens told Radsport News . "I easily could have finished in the top ten, but that doesn't count. The only thing that counts is the victory."

This came despite conditions the German dislikes, with cold temperatures and lots of rain.  Martens was the last helper on Freire's side when the race reached its climax on the Poggio. He hadn't counted to be there. "The weather and the crashes completely changed the characteristics of the race," Martens said.

"In the tunnel after the Turchino pass - which was unlit! - there was a crash. That was inevitable under these circumstances and that splintered the peloton." Martens was stuck behind. "We did a long chase all the way to Le Mànie, where my bike broke and I needed to change it." At this point, he thought the race was over. "But I fought back and since the final part of the race was dry and the temperatures rose, I became better."

He ended up as best German. "I stayed with Oscar until the final kilometer, but in the last turn I unfortunately lost his wheel. I only sat straight up and looked out for him and finally celebrated." Despite mostly being interested for the win, he did admit he was happy with his race. "To ride such a good finale, after being stuck behind, does make me proud a little bit."

Now Martens is already looking ahead. "Next week I will ride the E3 Prijs Harelbeke and then the Tour of the Basque Country. And then the week with the Ardennes Classics comes."

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