Volta ao Algarve Stage 3: Martin Wins a Very Close Chrono!
Etixx - Quick-Step rider Tony Martin won the 19km Volta ao Algarve Stage 3 ITT by less than a second over Adriano Malori (Lampre-Merida), and was three seconds faster than race leader Geraint Thomas (Team Sky). Martin averaged 52.174km/h along the up-and-down parcours.
The German TT Champion was also accompanied in the top 10 by Michal Kwiatkowski, who placed 4th (+9").
Yves Lampaert (+40") finished 11th, putting three riders of Etixx - Quick-Step in the top 15 of the stage, and with Zdenek Stybar (+1'01") in 16th four riders finished in the top 20.
This was the first win of the season for Tony Martin, and the 12th overall (11th road) for Etixx - Quick-Step in 2015.
Thomas remains the race leader after the 3rd Stage. Martin and Kwiatkowski move up into 2nd and 3rd on the GC podium, trailing Thomas by 30 and 39 seconds each. Etixx - Quick-Step looks next to 215.7km Stage 4, from Tavira to Malhao. It is the longest stage, includes three categorized climbs in the final kilometers, and finishes on a Category 2 ascent.
"It's nice to get a win in my German National TT Champion skinsuit," Martin said. "I wore it also as Champion in 2011, but since then it was just more or less in my cellar, in my training room, because I was always wearing my UCI World TT Champion jersey. I'm also proud to wear this German Champion jersey to represent my country. It maybe doesn't carry the same prestige as the one of the world champion, but you can still show the colors of your country and that is always an honor. So far it has brought me some luck. It's a really nice start to the season. The first race is always difficult because you don't really know where you are. I felt already really good in training, but races are still different. So already getting a good result is big for my confidence.
"As for the parcours today, most of it was the same as last year," Martin continued. "But still, it was longer than last year, with a hard finale and a headwind section. It was decent for me because there was a hard part at the end where I could really play with my power. I think in the split times I was a little bit slower than Thomas, but I made up the time in the final to even win against Malori. That's what I love, going really hard on a flat with a headwind or a crosswind. That lets me show my power. But seeing where you are is not just about the results. It's important to check the condition overall and it was even good yesterday in the climbs. In February you never know where your condition is and I'm really happy it is going so well. Especially in Algarve, as I come here every year and it is nice to win again. Algarve always gives me a lot of confidence so I can't imagine a better beginning of the season. My motivation is now super good. As for the next days, tomorrow will be hard. The gap to Thomas is still 30 seconds. We will see what we can do as we have a strong team here who can maybe make a good tactic besides even me. Michal Kwiatkowski is in 3rd, so we have some other cards we can play."