Baloise Belgium Tour Stage 3: Martin Dominates the TT Once Again
Two-time defending Baloise Belgium Tour Champion Tony Martin once again showed his power in the time trial discipline. The Three-time UCI World TT Champion won the 16.8km Stage 3 time trial with a time of 19'43", 16" faster than the next best time.
Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Shimano) was 2nd, and Sylvain Chavanel (IAM Cycling) finished 3rd, 26" back.
Martin was also fastest at the intermediate point by 13 seconds.
Martin takes the race leader jersey from OPQS rider Tom Boonen, who was the race leader after winning the first two stages. OPQS looks next to 184km Stage 4 on Saturday after going three-for-three in stage wins so far at Baloise Belgium Tour.
The victory count for OPQS is now at 35, in three disciplines, in 2014.
"There was a lot of wind and curves along the parcours," Boonen, who now wears the blue jersey as points leader, said. "In the beginning I had the feeling I was going fast, but with the headwind I couldn't gain any time. I really had to push hard. Everything I said the past days came true, Tony was the leader for the overall as he has already won it twice, and he won the stage. I am happy for him. It's always nice to pass the leader's jersey to a teammate in these kinds of situations. I am satisfied with my two stage wins. Now our goal for the next two days are to keep the jersey and support Tony in every way."
"On paper the time trial looks really easy, but especially in this kind of time trial every single second counts," Martin said. "You have to go 100 percent from the start. There is really no time to play games or consider any tactics. It's just full gas the moment you leave the start house. I gave everything. The wind was pretty hard, especially in the final. So, when you are already pushing hard in the beginning it's even more difficult in the final with the wind. But I had a lot of morale and kept on fighting the whole time. I think the TT is the key point of the stage race and my goal is to try and win the Baloise Belgium Tour for a third time. Now the situation for the team is really good, even though the time gap is not very big. We have a very strong team here. All you have to do is look at the names who are here to know this. So I think our chances to defend are good. Last year the last stage was very hard, but this year it looks to be a little less hard. But, we have really strong contenders, such as Dumoulin who was 2nd also in the TT last year. They won't just give us the overall victory, it will be two hard days where we have to fight. Today, however, I'm really happy. It's not easy being the big favorite from the start and I am satisfied with this victory."