URDAX, Spain (AP) Tony Martin broke away to win the second stage of the Tour of Basque Country on Tuesday, while overall leader Alberto Contador maintained his 14-second advantage.
Martin was among seven cyclists who moved away from the peloton, with the German cyclist pulling ahead of a breakaway group that included Maxim Montfort and Jan Bakelandts just over 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) from the finish.
”At 15 kilometers to go, we knew to try and win this race – so I attacked the breakaway,” said Martin, who won a leg that included four categorized climbs by 30 seconds in a time of 3 hours, 46 minutes, 17 seconds.
Contador allowed the breakaways to ride out of sight as he stayed close to closest challenger Alejandro Valverde, who attempted to escape late in the 155.8-kilometer (99-mile) stage to no avail.
”Alejandro attacked, and I would have done the same thing if I was in his situation,” Contador said. ”There were spots where you could go for it, but I was very attentive to respond.”
Contador, a former Tour de France champion, leads Valverde with an overall time of 7:51:54 for Tinkoff-Saxo. Michal Kwiatkowski of Poland is third – 34 seconds off the pace.
”It wasn’t a day where moves were made, but where a lot of energy was spent,” Contador said.
Martin’s first victory of the season gave his Omega-Pharma Quick Step team its 20th stage win of the season.
”This morning I was really motivated. Everybody wanted to try and go,” Martin said. ”It was the perfect situation. We collaborated really well with the other guys in the breakaway.”
The five-stage race continues on Wednesday with a 194.7-kilometer (120-mile) leg from Urdax to the Basque capital city of Vitoria.