Tour of the Basque Country: Tony Martin wins stage 2 solo as Britain's Ben Swift takes second
Last Updated: 08/04/14 6:22pm
Britain's Ben Swift had to be content with second place after breakaway rider Tony Martin claimed a superb solo victory on stage two of the Tour of the Basque Country.
Martin formed part of a seven-man escape early in the day but later reduced the group to just three riders with an injection of pace 18.5km out.
The three-time world time trial champion then dropped his two remaining colleagues with another burst 12km from home and with the chasing sprint teams behind struggling to match his brute power, the German comfortably hung on to win by 30 seconds.
Team Sky's Swift was next over the line after outsprinting Martin’s Omega Pharma – Quick-Step team-mate Michal Kwiatkowski in the narrowest of photo finishes.
Race leader Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) finished in the peloton to consolidate his 14-second advantage over fellow Spaniard Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) in the general classification.
Martin said afterwards: "This morning I was really motivated. When I went, to me it was kind of like a time trial until the end. I knew in the last 10km it was possible to win with a one-minute gap. A win like today is really special."
The 155.8km second stage started in Ordizia and although it crested four categorised climbs, the day appeared set to finish in a bunch sprint in Dantxarinea.
A clutch of strong riders were allowed to break away, with Martin being joined by the likes of team-mate Jan Bakelants and Movistar’s Gorka Izagirre, but the pack remained vigilant and didn’t allow the lead to grow beyond two and a half minutes.
However, they were lackadaisical in closing the gap back down and when the breakaway entered the final 25km with 1min 30sec still in hand, the door was effectively opened for Martin to chance his luck.
The lead had fallen to under a minute by the time the 28-year-old had made his first move, but he soon opened it back out and then stretched it to around 1min 10sec with his second surge.
Team Sky and Orica-GreenEdge, the two chief sprint teams, failed to make any inroads into Martin, and it was only when Valverde twice attacked Contador that the margin tumbled. However, Contador shut both moves down and with Martin no danger in the general classification, the chase was effectively called off.
Stage two result
1 Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step, 3:46:17
2 Ben Swift (GB) Team Sky, +30secs
3 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step, same time
4 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Merida, st
5 Paul Martens (Ger) belkin, st
6 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar, st
7 Maxim Iglinskiy (Kaz) Astana, st
8 Yukiya Arashiro (Jap) Europcar, st
9 Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge, st
10 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale, st
1 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo, 7:51:54
2 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar, +14secs
3 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step, +34
4 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Merida, +36
5 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC, same time
6 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale, st
7 Mikel Nieve (Spa) Team Sky, st
8 Yuri Trofimov (Rus) Katusha, st
9 Roman Kreuziger (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo, +54
10 Mikel Landa (Spa) Astana, st