Tour du Poitou Charentes: Martin New Race Leader After TT Podium Finish!
Etixx - Quick-Step rider Tony Martin heads into the conclusive 5th Stage of 197.8km Tour du Poitou Charentes as the overall leader, after powering to a 3rd place finish in the 23.2km Stage 4 ITT on Thursday. The German rider leads the general classification by 37" over Adriano Malori (Movistar) and 38" over Jonathan Castroviejo (Movistar).
The German TT Champion, and three-time German UCI World TT Champion, is showing a return to form. Tour du Poitou Charentes is Martin's second race after surgery on a fractured right collarbone, which was suffered at the conclusion of the 6th Le Tour de France Stage in July. He also raced the Vattenfall Cyclassics.
Mere seconds separated the top three finishers of the Tour du Poitou Charentes individual time trial. Malori, averaging 50.042km/h, bested teammate Castroviejo by a single second, and Martin by four seconds at the end of the flat parcours.
The time trial was the second of two stages held on Thursday. The peloton first completed 98.6km Stage 3, which ended in a bunch sprint. Etixx - Quick-Step rider Julian Alaphilippe finished 5th. Marc Sarreau (FDJ) won the stage, while Tyler Farrar (MTN - Qhubeka) finished 2nd, and Michael Van Staeyen (Cofidis) rounded out the Stage 3 podium.
Matteo Trentin, winner of Stage 2, suffered a puncture at 5 kilometers remaining of the early stage, which took him out of contention for the sprint.
Petr Vakoc is now the best young rider, sitting 7th in the overall going into the final stage.
"I'm happy about my performance today," Martin said. "Even in the first days here, I really went full gas and didn't save any energy, just to see where my level was. So, I was expecting to not be super fresh today. But considering everything I am really satisfied about my time trial. I had good power, good feeling on the bike, so I am happy. I am in the right way to get ready for the next races and the big goal at the end of the season. Now I am also race leader. Tomorrow there will be a hilly stage, so not so easy. But we will see what we can do. Fortunately I can count on a strong team that is always behind me and can support me. We will see what the day will bring tomorrow."