After holding the yellow jersey since the opening day, Tony Martin slipped to fourth place overall on the final stage of the Tour de Suisse but the Omega Pharma-QuickStep rider declared himself pleased with his showing over the course of the week.
The result was perhaps Martin's placing at the Tour de Suisse since he finished second in 2009, and arguably his best showing in a stage race of such a level since the spring of 2011, when he won Paris-Nice and finished second overall at the Tour de Romandie.
"I have to be satisfied with how my team fought, how I fought, and I need to think positive for the future. I am back at the condition I was a few years ago where there is a chance to fight for a leader jersey," Martin said afterwards, according to his team website. "If someone would say half a week ago I'd finish fourth, and win two stages here, I'd be happy. I think we can look at the results and, despite finishing 4th after all that work, be proud."
Winner of the individual time trials on stages 1 and 7, Martin held a lead of 51 seconds over Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Shimano) and 1:05 over world champion Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) entering Sunday's mountainous final leg to Saas-Fee.
Martin was unable to follow Rui Costa when he jumped away with Matthias Frank (IAM Cycling) and Bauke Mollema (Belkin) on the penultimate climb of the Eischoll. After initial work from his Omega Pharma-QuickStep teammates, Martin took up the pursuit in person on the final haul to Saas-Fee.
Although he battled gamely to limit his losses on the 20-kilometre climb, Martin finished the stage in 15th place, 2:18 down on Rui Costa, and dropped to fourth place overall, 1:13 behind the rainbow jersey.
"I was strong enough to maybe win this year. But at the end, it was difficult when cooperation within the chase group wasn't there and we had a team here focused on the stages and the sprints," Martin said. "But, OK that's it. I think the work I did for the race, I need to be happy."
Martin acknowledged that he lacked the explosiveness to follow Rui Costa's move on the Eischoll but said that he had hoped to find some allies of circumstance to help with the chase ahead of the final climb.
"When my main contenders went today on the climb, they were full gas. I couldn't follow directly or close the gap. I tried to play poker a bit to see if teams would support the chase for their contenders. It didn't work out that way. But, I still did my best to fight kilometre-by-kilometre and I have to be satisfied with what I could do today."
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