MADRID, April 12, 2014 (AFP) – Spaniard Alberto Contador won the Tour of
the Basque Country for the third time on Saturday as Germany’s Tony Martin
claimed his second stage win in the individual time-trial.
A two-time winner of the Tour de France, 31-year-old Contador
(Tinkoff-Saxo) had led the race from the first day and finished in style as he
ended the 25.9km time trial around Markina-Xemein in second place just seven
seconds behind Martin, a triple time-trial world champion.
“At the start of the tour I couldn’t have imagined finishing the race so
strongly. I have to thank the effort of my teammates,” said Contador.
“In the time-trial today (Saturday) it was difficult, the first indications
I saw showed I was going well and that gave me confidence.
“I even thought about going for the stage win but when you have a champion
in front of you like Tony Martin, second place feels like a victory.”
Victory continued Contador’s fine start to the season following his success
in the Tirreno-Adriatico last month as he prepares for another shot at winning
the Tour de France.
However, he insisted he has other targets before the Tour kicks off in
Leeds, England on July 5.
“I want to have a complete season and not just the Tour de France. For the
moment everything is going well. Now I have to rest and face new challenges.”
Martin’s Omega Pharma Quick-Step teammate Michal Kwiatowski finished third
for the fifth time in the six stage race and his consistency was rewarded as
he moved up to second in the overall standings, 49 seconds behind Contador.
Frenchman Jean-Christophe Peraud (Ag2r) also moved onto the podium with the
fifth fastest time of the day as Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) finished over a
minute behind Martin to drop to fifth overall.
Results from the sixth stage of Tour of the
Basque Country, a 25.9km individual time-trial around Markina-Xemein on
1. Tony Martin (GER/OPQ) 38min 33sec
2. Alberto Contador (ESP/TIN) at 0:07
3. Michal Kwiatkowski (POL/OPQ) 0:15
4. Simon Spilak (SLO/KAT) 0:16
5. Jean-Christophe Peraud (FRA/ALM) 0:35
6. Tom Dumoulin (NED/GIA) 0:38
7. Ion Izagirre (ESP/MOV) 0:41
8. Alejandro Valverde (ESP/MOV) 1:02
9. Tejay Van Garderen (USA/BMC) 1:05
10. Thibaut Pinot (FRA/FDJ) 1:25
1. Alberto Contador (ESP/TIN) 21h09:11.
2. Michal Kwiatkowski (POL/OPQ) 0:49.
3. Jean-Christophe Péraud (FRA/ALM) 1:04.
4. Simon Spilak (SLO/KAT) 1:07
5. Alejandro Valverde (ESP/MOV) 1:07.
6. Tejay Van Garderen (USA/BMC) 1:56.
7. Cadel Evans (AUS/BMC) 1:56.
8. Yury Trofimov (RUS/KAT) 2:13.
9. Thibaut Pinot (FRA/FDJ) 2:14.
10. Wouter Poels (NED/OPQ) 2:26