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Tony Martin surges to podium contention at Eneco Tour

Tony Martin blasted up the general classification at the Eneco Tour on Friday after Etixx-QuickStep finished second to BMC Racing in the stage 5 team time trial, finishing just six seconds slower than the stage winners.

Martin jumped from 13th overall to third, 24 seconds behind overall leader Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing) and eight second behind BMC's Taylor Phinney. Previous race leader Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) dropped to fourth overall after his team finished eighth, and now trails Dennis by 27 seconds.

Despite starting the stage without the powerful engine of Tom Boonen, who crashed out of the race during stage 4, Martin, Bob Jungels, Iljo Keisse, Marcel Kittel, Zdenek Stybar, Matteo Trentin and Niki Terpstra covered the 20.9km technical course in 23:17 to claim the runner-up spot.

"This was one of the nicest team time trial I've ever done," Martin said. "The course was beautiful and our team was strong and coherent. Every rider gave it his all and was motivated to work hard for a good result. We missed Tom Boonen, as he is a super strong guy and as the eighth man we could have saved more energy, but we are satisfied with the way we rode."

Aside from Martin's third-place position, the team also placed Niki Terpstra in fifth - tied on time with Sagan - while Bob Jungels is 36 seconds back in ninth and Marcel Kittel is 37 seconds back in 10th.

"It's a pity Tom wasn't here, because he is a big turbo for the team," Terpstra said. "We raced with seven riders, and at the end of the day we are happy. We enjoyed the course, the corners and the small climbs, but mostly how strong we were during the day, as this gives us confidence for the future."

Two stages - and multiple opportunities for time bonuses - remain in this year's Eneco Tour, including Saturday's 185.2km stage from Riemst to Lanaken and Sunday's 197.8km stage from Bornem to Geraardsbergen.


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