Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco Stage 6 ITT: Martin Wins, Kwiatkowski on Stage and GC Podium!
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team earned road wins 20 and 21 on the same day. Shortly after Alessandro Petacchi won the bunch sprint at GP Cerami, Tony Martin won the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco Stage 6 ITT with a time of 38 minutes and 33 seconds.
In addition to the victory of the three-time UCI World TT Champion, Michal Kwiatkowski finished 3rd in the stage (+15"), and moved himself up to a 2nd place on the GC podium by his time gap on Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) and several other riders.
The Polish Champion finished in 3rd on almost every stage at Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco. On Saturday, he finished behind his teammate and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), who won the overall classification by placing 2nd in the stage (+7"). Wout Poels, who won Stage 4 solo, also finished 10th in the GC. Kwiatkowski was able to win the points jersey (81 points) by his performance at the time trial. He also won the jersey for best young rider.
Tony Martin won two stages at Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco, and this was his first ITT of the season.
"During this race I had two victories, and the team won three stages out of six," Martin said. "It's really a great performance for us. Today, the TT parcours wasn't really 100 percent for my skills. There were two climbs. But we did it already during yesterday's stage, so I knew the climbs already. This morning I was really motivated. I went full gas and think I did a really good performance. I even did 100km/h maximum speed on the downhill. I closed this week with two victories and think I did a good job for the team. I had good legs, and a good feeling the entire week. That's important for me also with my morale. I think with this team there is also a great, big spirit, and this spirit sometimes gives you an extra push to perform well. This is a good moment in my career as I really got the best out of it. My next races will be the Ardennes Classics. I have been looking forward to this race as it's been a long time, a few years since I raced a Classic. I am in good condition and I hope to give a good performance and be useful for the team."
"I'm really happy," Poels said. "This was a week I will never forget. I won the queen stage, I was 10th in the GC, and I really defended myself today in the time trial. It's a nice way to end the race. I'm happy to ride for this team. I can see the trust around me. We have a bunch of good riders who can go for their own ambitions, but also work hard for their teammates. I am really proud and looking forward to the next races. I will ride Brabantse Pijl and the three Ardennes Classics. Those races suit my skills. I hope to do the best I can."
"This particular result is something really special for me." Kwiatkowski said. "I'm really happy about this performance. I don't think I could finish any better as Contador was really strong. I did the best I can do for this race. I rode the entire week playing tactics a bit with Poels. I think in my learning process this race was really important because I learned how to pace myself. I learned a lot during Tirreno-Adriatico how to manage these situations. Here, I took it easy, tried to stay cool, and I was more or less positioned well the entire week. That is really important for my growth as a rider. As for the TT, I never went over my limit. I spread the effort evenly during the entire race. To me it was helpful to have Davide Bramati behind me and also to know the time of Tony. It helped me to distribute my effort correctly. Also, I have to say that as usual I had a great bike with my Specialized Shiv. When I went on the downhill I went really fast, without problems, because I trusted my bike. I am really so confident in my bike I can go full gas on descents and corners without problems."