Tony Martin does a killer Spartacus imitation.
Germany’s young Tony Martin crushed the race of truth in Paris Nice, averaging 48.5km/h on a rolling course to Aix-en-Provence. He beat a strong and motivated Bradley Wiggins (SKY) by 20 seconds and Richie Porte (Saxo Bank) by 29 seconds and Cancellara is watching from Tirreno-Adriatico, thinking, wow, Martin is after me.
“To win this stage was my real goal at Paris-Nice but now I hope to keep the yellow jersey until the end and I’m confident of doing it,” said the HTC-Highroad rider who is almost as amazing as the guy doing the Spartacus beat box rap. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0V5R3SN2ZU[/youtube]
Andreas Kloden (RadioShack) did his best with a fine ride and fourth place finish but drops to second overall with Wiggins in third. The Shack made a show of strength with Levi Leipheimer and Janez Brajkovic taking sixth and seventh place.
The shocker of the day was provided by Olympic mountain bike silver medallist Jean-Christophe Péraud. The AG2R guy smoked the course and took fifth on the stage and GC. Even more incredible, he was riding a full-suspension bike with 29″ wheels and stopped half way thru to hit some jumps just off the road. Ahh, just kidding.
“I was worried before the start because I wasn’t satisfied with my ride uphill yesterday,” Péraud told Cyclingnews. “But as soon as I started this time trial, I had superb sensations. Quickly I could see Michael Rogers in front of me and it was good for my motivation.”
In the time trial, the essential skill is clock management. Something Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) failed at miserably. The Frenchman showed up just twenty minutes before his start time, then missed it because officials insisted on doing a bike check. Some journalists question his training methods; Twisted Spoke questions his ability to figure out what the big and little hand on his watch say.
“I wouldn’t have won the time trial anyway,” said Voeckler, who finished 83rd. “But I haven’t been very professional in arriving so late.” That would be a duh understatement. He’s lucky he already has his stage win.
Right now, Tony Martin is in the drivers seat at Paris-Nice. “It’ll be two difficult days but I have a really strong team on my side,” said Martin. “I have a good gap on the other GC riders.”
That gap looks damn solid and Wiggins summed it up with a tweet: “Sometimes you get beaten by a better bike rider, Tony Martin congrats mate.”
Watch out, Spartacus.