29 August 2013

Tony Martin and La Vuelta a España Stage 6

When someone like Tony Martin (OPQ) says he is coming into La Vuelta to prepare for the World Champion Individual Time Trial you don't expect them to set out at the start of a 175km road stage to ride away and keep away from the chasing peleton in a solo effort.

But with tomorrow being a rest day and the course though being largely downhill was undulating it obvious was what the two-time world time trial champion had in mind. Today in a supreme effort of solo riding the German went from the dropping of the flag to mark the end of the neutralised zone. Marco Pinotti had tried to grab his wheel but was unsuccessful. He managed to cover 46 km in the first hour of riding, this dropped to a mere 42 km in the second hour, but he covered 44km in the third hour. In three hours of riding solo he had maintained an average of 44km/h and still had a lead of 3 minutes, but it was starting to come down.

The sprinters' teams behind were starting to muster and most cycling fans would have really be hoping they wouldn't be closing the gap just as fast as they started to. His lead was down to just over 2 minutes as he passed 30km to go. The odd addage is that the chasing peleton can bring back one minute for each 10km of riding near the finish, so it wasn't looking good for anything other than the combative prize for the day. But somehow he seemed to defy that.

When the race hit the flame rouge with 1km to go he still had a lead of 11 seconds. It was a downhill drag to the finish from there, could he hang on for a remarkable win. Sadly his own time trailling Nemesis Fabian Cancellara (RLT) launched his own bid for victory which swept up the man who so nearly pulled off a remarkable day in the saddle, but Michael Morkov (TST) had his wheel and surged past Cancellara for the win and Maximiliano Richze (LAM) who just lost out to Michael Matthews yesterday secured third.

Tony Martin came across the line a few metres back in 7th place having led on his own for 3 hours 54 minutes and 14 seconds but not quite for the last one.

So close Martin just behind the first three


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