Tour of Belgium Stage 5: Martin Wins Overall for Second Straight Year, 5th in the Stage
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Tony Martin saw a potential threat to the red jersey in the final kilometers of 164.3km Tour of Belgium Stage 5 on Sunday. Luis Leon Sanchez (Blanco Pro Cycling Team) was ahead solo out of an original break with about 34.5km to go. He trailed Martin by 1'16" in the GC.
OPQS had worked tirelessly at the front to keep the gap of the breakaway under control. However, with Sanchez still away way on La Redoute, Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team) launched his own attack. After a long day of Martin's teammates taking up the chase, he decided to bridge himself and took Francesco Gavazzi (Astana Pro Team) and Andreas Kloden (Radioshack-Leopard) with him. Those three successfully caught up to Gilbert with 19km to go, with Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto-Belisol) also bridging with 5km remaining and the gap at 50". Finally, with just a few kilometers remaining and the gap less than 50", it became clear Martin's GC lead would be enough to win the red jersey at Tour of Belgium for the second year in a row.
Sanchez won the stage solo, with Gavazzi 2nd and Gilbert 3rd. Martin was 5th. OPQS also had three riders finish in the top 10 GC. Kristof Vandewalle finished 7th, and Niki Terpstra finished 9th overall.
This was the 30th win for OPQS (28th road), in three disciplines, in 2013.
"It was amazing how my teammates were riding for me," Martin said. "It was really nice to stay with them. As expected the race was really hard from the beginning. A lot of attacks from the start. All my teammates had to work hard. But we stayed confident and stuck to the plan. My teammates brought me safely to the final. At the end I knew it was up to me on La Redoute. I had an eye on Gilbert and finally I could follow him. Then I had a gap that was big enough that I could more or less stay easy. At the end everything was fine, but I think it was one of the hardest stages for me and for the team. I just trusted my teammates until the very end. I always had teammates around me riding very strong, so it gave me a lot of morale. At the final I knew it was then up to me and I felt really good. I knew I had the legs and could follow the main competitors. So, I was really confident. I knew the team worked hard the whole week, and it was up to me to finish the success. So, I gave everything. The condition is good and I'm happy with the final. I have to give a special thanks to the whole team for this victory."