Tony Martin had to fight hard on la Redoute to defend his overall lead in the last stage of the Tour of Belgian, but he was able to counter Philippe Gilbert's attack and bring home the title for the second consecutive year. He credited both his Omega Pharma-QuickStep teammates and his own time trialing abilities for the success on the final day.
“My team once again supported me perfectly,” he said on his website. “Until about 20 kilometers before the finish I was not once in the wind.”
That gave him the power to chase Gilbert, when he attacked. The BMC rider had come into the final stage in fifth place, only 57 seconds down. “He really lit a rocke and opened a big hole,” Martin said. “But I though, even if it is 20, 30 or 40 meters, I can hold that or catch him.
“Because of my time trial performance I had confidence in my form. In the end I was able to catch him. I simply rode my own rhythm. In the finale he signalled to me that he wouldn't attack me again because the time gap was too big. He wanted to go for the stage win.”
It was Martin's eighth win this season, “a very good balance for May. I am so far satisfied.”
The German world time trial champion will not rest on his laurels, though. On Sunday evening he traveled to Nice, with plans to continue on to Corsica. “There we will look at the first three Tour stages. We will also inspect the team time trial course.” He will be back to racing at the Criterium du Dauphine on Saturday.