omega pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Tony Martin closed out tirreno-adriatico with a 52.992km/h average pace in the 9.2km Stage 7 ITT, which was enough for a victory by six seconds on Tuesday.
Martin finished with a time of 10’25″, pushing enough power to pass riders on a short distance time trial course. Adriano Malori (Lampre-Merida) was 2nd (+6″), and andrey amador (Movistar) was 3rd, 10″ back.
Michal Kwiatkowski also finished 8th (+21″), and won the White Jersey for Best Young Rider. Furthermore, he finished 4th (+53″) in the GC. Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) won the overall, Chris Froome (Team sky procycling) was 2nd, 23″ back, and alberto contador (Team Saxo-Tinkoff) was 3rd, 52″ back.
This is the 15th win, in three disciplines, for OPQS in 2013. OPQS also won the opening TTT at tirreno-adriatico. As a result of the good performances at Paris-Nice — including a Stage 6 victory of Sylvain Chavanel — as well as tirreno-adriatico, OPQS moves up from 9th to 3rd in the UCI WorldTour rankings (138 points).
“It was more like a prologue than really a time trial,” Martin said about the TT parcour. “I prefer the longer time trials, from 20 to 50 kilometers. But, I really liked it here. It was not too technical. It was really nice, and we were lucky with the weather as there was no rain. So, everything was really fine. I expected a really big fight with Cancellara at the end, and the big contender was Malori. But OK, I won and I’m really happy. It shows me that my time trial condition is really good, and it gives me a lot of morale for the season.”
“I was really looking forward to this day,” Martin continued. “I’m really happy I could win here. This is my first time at tirreno-adriatico. I really liked this race, and a week of challenging climbs was very important for my conditioning. As for my performance during the stages that weren’t time trials, it went better day to day. I still need some time to improve in the mountains, but it is very early in the season. For the moment, I am very happy with this stage win, and also the good GC placement of Michal Kwiatkowski. He really deserved it. This was a very good week for the team, especially winning both of the time trials.”
“It’s just a really positive atmosphere,” Martin said about the morale of the team. “You can really feel that everyone gives 100 percent — the riders, staff, mechanics, soigneurs, sports directors, really everybody. I am so happy and proud to be a part of this team. I think we really force each other to go to the limit and you really can feel it. A win for one of us is a win for the team. It gives us so much power, and makes everyone so successful. It runs pretty much by itself, I think.”
“I did everything I could — but to be honest, I was a little bit tired after this week even mentally,” Kwiatkowski said about his time trial performance. “This race was not so easy, but it is one I will never forget. It was marvelous to be surrounded by a team that was so supportive of me. I could have maybe done better, but for now it is important to enjoy the fact that I was 4th behind three of the best in the World. For me, I cannot complain about my placement with this kind of competition. I am happy and am looking forward to the next races with great morale.”