Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) won the first stage of the Tour de Suisse on Saturday.
The world champion in the race against the clock took the 9.4km individual time trial in Bellinzona in 13 minutes and 48 seconds. Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Shimano) finished second at six seconds with Rohan Dennis (Garmin-Sharp) third at 13 seconds.
Hometown favorite Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) finished off the podium in fourth at 16 seconds.
“I started on a good rhythm but the climb was tough,” admitted Cancellara. “I could have done better on the descent, but the fall last week (in training) is still playing on my mind.”
Both the climb and descent were key, said Martin.
“I think I had a good strategy because I knew if I went really 100 percent in the flat part, I wouldn’t have enough energy for the mountain,” Martin said after collecting his third win at the Swiss tour. At the first intermediate check he found himself a second down to Dennis, but knew he had the power to take it back.
“So I knew I had to go 100 percent, but also be ready for the descent. If you go really full gas to the top you can’t concentrate on the technical parts of the downhill. I had a really good feeling the whole race, but I think I made the difference on the descent.”
Next on his wish list is the time trial on stage 7, said Martin.
“I will do my best for a good result there, and we will see what can happen in the mountains,” said the first yellow jersey of the Swiss tour. “It will be hard to defend, because we came here with a team of sprinters.”