Tour of Beijing Stage 2: Tony Martin Plays Tactics Perfectly, Wins Solo
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Tony Martin knew he had to take some risks in the 2012 Tour of Beijing, as the race lacked the time trial stage that was key for his 2011 overall victory.
Tony Martin saw his chance, attacking a group of seven other riders on a descent in the 126km Stage 2 on Wednesday after the group already had more than a minute lead following the first climb of the day (Category 1, 10.8km, 6.4% average gradient). Tony then made his move after summit of the next climb. Tony was aggressive on the descent, getting an initial gap of 20" due to his efforts. He then held on to a 30 second gap with a fantastic ride, time trialing as the group of seven scrambled to organize behind him.
The group failed to pull time back, and Tony kept pushing on. The cameras focused on Tony as he knew the victory was ahead, and he pumped his fist in celebration inside the final 5km. Thanks to a well executed race tactic, and a strong effort by the UCI World Time Trial Champion, Tony Martin won by 46 seconds. Francesco Gavazzi (Astana) placed 2nd and Eros Capecchi (Liquigas-Cannondale) was 3rd.
Tony Martin earned the 56th win in three disciplines for OPQS, and also earned the Tour of Beijing Stage 2 Most Aggressive Rider Award.
"I came to China to try to get a good result, even if there was no TT this year," Martin said. "I knew I had to try something without the TT. I knew, in the right moment, I had to take a chance. Today I felt good. There was a tough climb at the beginning, but I passed it without problem. About 25km from the finish there was a little downhill section after the climb. I turned and saw I had a small gap between me and the rest of the group, so I decided to go. Then, I did my own time trial giving my best — it worked in the end. It's super nice, especially for me because it is unusual to win a road stage. I am always happy to win the time trials, but it is quite amazing for me to win a stage like this. I feel good. Tomorrow it will be a question of tactics. We can't let the dangerous breaks get away, and we have to manage the race. We have a good team here, so for sure we will do our best. I have a 50 second lead in the GC, but now we will see the competitors. All the riders in the top 10 are dangerous. Some are climbers, some are sprinters who will take advantage of the bonifications and go for the final sprints. It will be a fight, but we will do our best to protect the leader's jersey."