Tony Martin leads Algarve
A strong ride in the Sagres individual time trial brought the 30-year-old German the yellow jersey.
The general classification leader of the Volta ao Algarve changed for the second time in as many days, following stage 3. After teammate Marcel Kittel and Luis Leon Sanchez, now Tony Martin was the one to go at the top of the overall standings, following a solid effort on Friday's 18 km-long individual time trial. Tony, triple world champion of the discipline, was runner-up in the stage won by Fabian Cancellara, missing on the victory for only 5 seconds, but his ride was very impressive, considering he was among the last 20 cyclists to start the stage, in a moment of the day when the wind had already changed its direction.
In the general classification, Tony Martin holds a 3-second advantage over Geraint Thomas (Sky), with Ion Izagirre (Movistar) in third, 20 seconds behind the Etixx – Quick-Step rider. Leader of the race at the start of the day, Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) was the last to roll down the ramp, but crashed in a roundabout and because of the injuries sustained he retired and was taken to the hospital.
A regular at the Volta ao Algarve, a race he won on two occasions (2011 and 2013), Tony Martin talked at the finish about his ride and the goals he has for the remaining of the week: "I am happy with my performance, but not so content with the result. It was pretty hard today with the headwind, but I'm not looking for excuses. Fabian was stronger, and that's that. I now look towards tomorrow and helping Marcel. After that, we'll sit down and talk about the last day. Of course, I want to keep the yellow jersey now, but it won't be easy, as there are many top riders here. Still, I am confident, because I have a very strong team, and we'll just see how things will pan out on the final day."
On Saturday, the sprinters will fancy their chances of taking the victory, despite a rolling terrain, that could give the attackers some ideas. The penultimate stage (194 kilometers) will start in S. Bras de Alportel and conclude in Tavira, a city which will host a Volta ao Algarve finish for the first time in three years, the previous visit recording the win of Tony Martin, one of the most successful riders in the race's history.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele