Events

Martin collects first win in Katusha colors

World time trial champion Tony Martin solos to his first victory of 2017 at Vuelta a Valenciana.

DENIA, Spain (AFP) — Germany’s Tony Martin claimed victory on the second stage of the Volta a Valenciana thanks to a daring solo attack on Thursday. The four-time and current individual world time trial champion made a break on the final descent of the 180.6-kilometer stage from Alicante to Denia.

He built up enough of a lead to utilize his power once the road evened out to the finish line to beat out Dutchman Pim Ligthart and Slovenia’s Primoz Roglic in 4 hours, 44 minutes.

Martin shrugged off two crashes in wet conditions early on in the stage to register a first win for his new team Katusha – Alpecin. Also on Tuesday, his teammate Alexander Kristoff won stage 2 of Etoile de Bessèges.

“The team supported me 100 percent on a stage that was kind of crazy with a lot of crashes and a lot of rain. I crashed two times myself,” said Martin. “But I had a plan in my mind and in wet conditions not so many riders can go with me. I took some risks, but everything worked out to the plan.

“I usually win only in the time trial so it’s special to win in this road race.”

Greg Van Avermaet of BMC Racing, who won Wednesday’s opening team time trial, took overall lead of the race after finishing 19 seconds back on Martin.

Vuelta a España champion Nairo Quintana finished 12 seconds off the pace in seventh for Movistar and moved into the top 10 of the general classification just 54 seconds back. However, defending champion Walter Poels and his Team Sky teammates suffered a disappointing day with the Dutchman 57 seconds back on Martin.

Friday’s third stage sees the riders tackle a 163km ride from Canals to Ribarroja del Turia.