Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Tony Martin aimed for the 33km Stage 11 Tour de France ITT even after recovering from a Stage 1 crash, and he put on a jaw dominating performance to meet his goal — even beating yellow jersey wearer Chris Froome by 12″, and all other riders by more than a minute.
Froome had the fastest times at all intermediate points, but was unable to maintain his speed until the finish.
Martin finished with a time of 36’29” at the Tour de France Stage 11 ITT on Wednesday. He rode the first 9.5km at 55.072km/h, 22km at 53.441km/h and averaged 54.271km/h for the entire course. Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil-DCM) finished 3rd, +1’01” back,.
Michal Kwiatkowski and Sylvain Chavanel also had impressive performances, finishing in the top 10. Kwiatkowski 5th, 1’31” back. Kwiatkowski was able to get back into the white jersey for best young rider due to his performance. Chavanel finished 7th, +1’37”.
This is the 41st win (39th road) for OPQS in three disciplines in 2013, and the second Tour de France stage victory so far. Tony Martin has now won 10 individual time trials since, and including, his UCI World TT Championship in 2012. This was his second career victory at the Tour, after the 2011 victory in Grenoble.
“The goal was always to continue the Tour de France because it’s a big honor for me to be here,” Martin said. “When the doctors gave me the OK to stay in the Tour de France I always kept the focus on today’s stage. I knew I wouldn’t be 100 percent for the team time trial, but I knew I had a good chance to recover for today. I had all the support from the team staff to get me in the best condition that is possible after the crash. They did a fantastic job and can say the crash didn’t affect my performance today.”
“The recon this morning was very useful and I went very fast for the entire course,” Martin said. “I knew that the final kilometers were really windy so I saved some energy for the final. I made the right choice considering how the race went. My times stayed the best all the way until Froome in yellow as the last rider on course. It was super disappointing when I saw his intermediates — the first one I was a second behind and the second, two seconds behind. I thought ‘man, if I get beat now by one or two seconds, just put the bike away and go home’. But, he lost some seconds in the final. For sure the stage suited me more then Froome, but in the climbs you can see he has incredible power. Still, it doesn’t matter if you win by one second or one minute. Now I’m really happy with this victory and really motivated for the next days. I’m also really happy for the team as I think it gives us a lot of morale with a second stage win. In this way, we can continue with confidence.”
“I’m happy about my performance,” Kwiatkowski said. “Today I rode a really good TT and I’m happy Tony won a stage and Chavanel was also 7th. I’m also happy to get the white jersey back. It would be nice to stay in the top 10 GC but I will see day-by-day. We want to keep working on the flat stages for Mark and we will see how it goes with me. If I lose my place in the top 10 GC I can still gain experience from the best. I want to improve everywhere. This Tour de France has given me a lot and I will come out stronger from this grand tour. It will hopefully be a big step in my career.”
“I am happy about my race,” Chavanel said. “I said yesterday that my goal was to be among the best and I’m there. Congratulations to Tony for the great performance and to Kwiato for the white jersey. We showed our potential in this discipline.”
photos: OPQS/Tim de Waele.