HTC-Highroad’s Tony Martin was proclaimed overall winner in the Paris-Nice stage race on Sunday in what was a landmark victory both for the young German and for his team.
“We’ve won lots of stage races before, but never one of this calibre,” commented HTC-Highroad sports director Allan Peiper, “and at the same time it’s a huge step up in Tony’s personal career, too.”
“Tony led like a real champion, he really put his stamp on the race with that time trial win and then as a team we did well to defend it.”
After mountainous terrain and poor weather shredded the field on the final 122 kilometer stage, Martin crossed the finishing line safely in the main pack of just a dozen riders.
Second in the final podium was German Andreas Klöden, 36 seconds behind with Bradley Wiggins of Great Britain in third at 41 seconds.
“The only thing that could really have undone us was the weather,” Peiper added, “we’d had crashes with Tejay [Van Garderen] and Kosta [Konstantsin Siutsou] going down on Saturday but they still gave it 100 percent.”
“We’d lost Martin Velits early on through injury, but Alex Rasmussen really pulled out the stops, and Matt Goss was doing brilliantly on the climbs even though he’s a sprinter.”
“At the same time, Tejay [Van Garderen] worked hard for Tony on the biggest mountain stage and opening that gap on most of the rest of the field that day really made a big difference.”
The reigning German national time trial champion, prior to his latest success Martin has already won the Tour of the Algarve in Portugal this season.
“Tony said he was going to come here to give it his best shot, and after Algarve we knew he was in good shape.”
“Being a contender at Paris-Nice is one thing. Getting the win itself is something extraordinary.”
HTC-Highroad for Paris-Nice: Lars Bak (Den); Matt Goss (Aus); Tony Martin (Ger); Danny Pate (USA); Alex Rasmussen (Den); Kanstantsin Svitsov (Byl); Tejay Van Garderen (USA); Martin Velits (Svk).