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Covering the 15km course in 18.06, Martin beat Dennis by 3 seconds to take his first international TT win on stage 7a of the Tour of Britain; Dumoulin was third and Cumming retained the lead

Photo: Sirotti














10.09.2016 @ 15:54 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Tony Martin (Etixx-QuickStep) finally took his first international time trial win since the 2015 Tour de Romandie when he came out on top in the morning stage at the Tour of Britain. The former world champion covered the 15km covered in Bristol in 18.06 which was 3 seconds faster than Rohan Dennis (BMC) and five seconds better than Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin). Steve Cummings (Dimension Data) finished fourth and so retained the lead ahead of the afternoon stage.


With three World Championship titles, Tony Martin has been the dominant time triallist in recent years but those days are over. In the last two years, the German has slipped down the hierarchy and he has suffered to keep up with emerging talents like Rohan Dennis and Tom Dumoulin.


Going into this week’s Tour of Britain, Martin had not won a single international TT since last year’s Tour de Romandie and his only wins in the race against the clock have come at his national championships. He had disastrous rides at both the Worlds and the Olympics and he was nowhere near the best in the Tour TTs.


The lack of results meant that Martin had slipped under the radar for today’s flat time trial at the Tour of Britain, especially as Dennis and Dumoulin were both in attendance and have shown outstanding form. However, Martin suddenly returned to his best as he finally broke his long drought with a fantastic ride on the 15km course in Bristol. The win was a welcome result for Martin but it was definitely made sweeter by the fact that he beat both Dennis and Dumoulin. Dennis was three seconds behind in second and Dumoulin was 2 seconds further behind in third.


Having lost time on GC, the German was an early starter and so he faced a nervous wait in the hot seat as he waited for Dennis and Dumoulin who were the third and second last starters respectively. Dennis posted a faster time at the time check but he was unable to maintain his speed on the late climb as the Australian came up short at the finish. Martin also benefited from the fact that rain started to fall in the finale


Dennis and Dumoulin were riding for more than the stage win as they also hoped to gain time in the battle for the overall win. However, race leader Steve Cummings lived up to his status as one of the biggest specialists as he finished in a solid fourth place, just 16 seconds behind Martin. Another GC rider, Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal) also did one of his best TTs ever as he completed the top 5, finishing in the same time as the race leader.


The result allowed Cummings to retain the lead with a 38-second advantage over Dumoulin and Dennis who are now tied on time. He already faces his next challenge in the afternoon when the riders will do a criterium over six laps of the time trial course. It’s a technical affair with a 500m climb of 7% that leads to the final 2km which are flat.


A tricky time trial

After yesterday’s queen stage, the riders faced another key stage on Saturday morning when they tackled the 15km time trial in Bristol. It was mainly flat apart from an early descent and a small 500m climb that led to the 2km to go mark. It was a pretty technical course with numerous turns but there were also some straight sections where it was all about power.


It was a cloudy day with wet roads when Emiel Wastyn (An Post) rolled down the ramp as the first rider but Alex Edmondson (Orica-BikeExchange) was the first rider to reach the finish, stopping the clock in 19.32. Unsurprisingly, the track specialist stayed on top of the leaderboard for a while. Fellow track cyclist Owain Doull (Wiggins) could only manage 20.30 and was not even close.


Best time for Dowsett

The first big threat was expected to be Bradley Wiggins (Wiggins) but he opted for an easy ride, crossing the lines with his arms aloft in a time of 20.31 to slot into sixth. Instead, it was British champion Alex Dowsett (Movistar) who became the undoing for Edmondson as his time of 18.41 was almost one minute faster.


Ryan Mullen (Cannondale) was the next specialist to hit the course and he was close to Dowsett, stopping the clock in 18.45 to slot into second. Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) saved energy for the afternoon and crossed the line in 21.40.


Martin takes the lead

Taylor Eisenhart (BMC) became the third rider to go faster than 19 minutes when he posted a time of 18.56. His teammate Taylor Phinney (BMC) was in a determined mood when he rolled down the ramp and was on track for a great ride as he was faster than Dowsett at the time check but he had bad luck to slide out on the wet roads. Impressively, he still managed to post the third fastest time, missing out on the lead by just five seconds.


Martin was the next favourite to hit the course and he showed his intentions at the halfway mark where he was one second faster than Dowsett. The German really upped  the pace in the second part and when he reached the finish, he had beaten Dowsett by no less than 35 seconds.


Good ride by Izagirre

Yesterday’s winner Wout Poels (Sky) had a decent ride to slot into 10th with 19.07 which was 20 seconds faster than another stage winner, Jack Bauer (Cannondale), but it was Gorka Izagirre (Movistar) who most expected to be the next threat. He fully lived up to expectations as he slotted into second with 18.31, 25 seconds off the mark.


There were big expectations for Tao Geoghegan-Hart (Great Britain) and he did well to take sixth with 18.50 before Nicolas Roche (Sky) again confirmed his TT progress by taking 4th at 18.42. Dylan Van Baarle (Cannondale) also had a solid ride with 18.46 to move into sixth.


Dennis and Dumoulin come up short

The GC battle was heating up when Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal) hit the course and he had an excellent ride to take third with 18.31. Nonetheless, everybody had their eyes on Dennis who had been 3 seconds faster than Martin at the time check. However, the Australian lost time in the finale and had to settle for second, three seconds off the pace.


Dumoulin sprinted to the finish in 18.11, missing out on the win by 5 seconds and then the only question was whether Cummings would retain the lead. Stopping the clock in 18.22 to take fourth, he did more than enough to wear yellow in the afternoon stage.



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