It turned out to be a High Road day in the "Hell of the Mergelland" Saturday. Adam Hansen and Tony Martin took off only 15 km into the race and managed to stay away until the end. The two crossed the finish line hand-in-hand, with Martin taking the win. Hansen insisted that his younger team-mate take the win, his first professional victory. "Adam said I should win after he punctured and I waited for him," Martin said.
"Adam and I attacked, found there was just the two of us out there and decided to keep going. For a good 50 kilometres we had to really fight to convince the bunch to let us go," the 22 year-old said. "Then afterwards the bunch cracked and the gap just grew and grew. We had no idea whether we would stay away or not, so we just hoped."
"We decided together that I would win," he continued. "It was dangerous because there were cobbled sections to try and sprint in any case, plus Adam is a good friend and we are team-mates, too. It's a very special, memorable victory - my first for High Road, too!"
Directeur Sportif Tristan Hoffman was more than happy with the race. "I honestly can't remember anything like this happening before in a bike race, two team-mates going away so early and staying away right to the finish." he said.
"It's a really exceptional victory after an exceptional race. They fought like animals to get their break away. First they only had a minute, then 90 seconds but they kept going until the bunch split into four."
"I'm very pleased for the team, but I'm also pleased because it's good to see when two riders -- any riders -- are so aggressive in a race and they get the right reward: a great win."
Martin recently finished second in the closing time trial of the Criterium International, behind team-mate Edvald Boasson Hagen. Hansen, who finished tenth in that time trial, is returning after recovering from injuries in a crash during Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne.