Saturday, 12 March 2011

HTC rider Martin triumphant in Time Trial

Once again HTC Highroad rider Tony Martin proved his abilty as an individual time trialer. Storming to win at Aix-en-Provance the German dominated the 27km route, hammering it out in 33 minutes and 24 seconds. At 48.5 kph, the world championship bronze-medallist, recent winner of the Tour of Algarve, beat another specialist, Briton's own star Bradley Wiggins, by 20 seconds.

Yellow jersey holder Andreas Kloeden fought hard to take the fourth place 46 seconds off the pace, but it was not enough to keep his overall lead before the final trek into Nice. Martin, 25, now leads his veteran compatriot, his elder by ten years, by 36 seconds overall while Wiggins is a further three seconds back. Kloeden left the stage last podium spot to last year’s Giro sensation Richie Porte of Australia, who finished 29 seconds behind Martin to confirm his skills as a time trialist.

The penultimate stage sees the peloton carve out the 215km route from Brignoles to Biot - Sophia Antipolis. The longest stage of Paris-Nice, following six days of racing, this stage is sure to hurt the riders. Having to dig deep once more on a route with several traps many riders could fall foul to the perils of the stage and be dropped. Around Grasse, they will need to expend enough power to keep up with the pace set on the Côte de Cabris on their way to the Col du Ferrier. The stage finale, with two laps of an 18 km long circuit in the heights of Biot-Sophia Antipolis on the menu, will also be a real leg-breaker.

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