Le Tour de France Stage 1 ITT: Martin 2nd in Scorching Hot Conditions
Etixx - Quick-Step rider Tony Martin finished 2nd, 5" down on winner Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing Team) in the 13.8km Le Tour de France Stage 1 individual time trial in Utrecht on Saturday. Dennis won with a time of 14'56" (55.446km/h), which was 6" faster than Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) in 3rd place.
Le Grand Départ was a flat and simple time trial, but was complicated by scorching heat as the temperature reached 36 degrees Celsius. Tony Martin crossed the 7.1km checkpoint 4" down on the fastest time of Jos Van Emden (Team LottoNL - Jumbo), and 3" down on Dennis.
Rigoberto Uran also placed 17th, 40" down, among many of the top GC contenders and time trial specialists.
Etixx - Quick-Step has earned 35 second places in 2015 to complement 34 road wins.
Etixx - Quick-Step looks next to Stage 2 on Sunday. The second stage is on the seacost, going along the harbor from Utrecht to Zeeland during a completely flat 166km stage.
"I knew starting the Tour de France with this time trial was a great chance for myself and the team to possibly wear the yellow jersey in Utrecht," Martin said. "I did the best preparation possible to be at this race at 100 percent. I had great support from the team and the staff around me, so I could really focus on the race. But today I was struggling a little bit with the heat. It was not easy to warm up on the rollers and then riding 15 minutes in the heat. Even in the second half I was already tired. I'm used to warming up after 5 to 7 kilometers, and then my race starts. But today I couldn't really change rhythm. I was doing my best to go until the finish. I am sure in different weather circumstances I could do better. Still, considering everything, to still finish 2nd I am happy about it. I always want to win, but today I found a great Rohan Dennis who deserved the victory. There is still a big opportunity for yellow in the next days. Everyone knows this first week will be crazy and we have for sure one of the strongest and best teams for the parcours of the next days. So, yes, I am disappointed, but the Tour de France has only just begun. I have a great team around me that will further boost my morale, for sure."
"Tony was really focused in the last week," Sport and Development Manager Rolf Aldag said. "He knew how important this race could be for him. He did everything to be ready for this race, and to be honest he was very good in the race today. So OK, of course we always try to win, but we have to also say that Rohan Dennis did a great time trial, so congratulations to him. When you lose a time trial by a few seconds you always wonder where you could have gained or lost a few seconds. Today after a few kilometers Tony got hit by a plastic cap on the road, and the impact made his chain drop to the middle ring. Tony lost a second to shift back to the big ring. But it's a really small detail and it didn't make the difference between a victory and 2nd place. Now we need to look forward. Tomorrow we have to turn the page and stay focused on that stage rather than still thinking about the stage of today. We will try to get a good result tomorrow."