MARTENS BLASTS AWAY ON CAUBERG TO LEAD STER ELEKTROTOER
Skil-Shimano’s Paul Martens took over as race leader of the Ster Elektrotoer after winning Thursday’s second stage which finished on the Cauberg climb – famous for being the final ascent of the Amstel Gold Race. The second-year German pro outgunned Maarten Wynants of the Quick Step squad in a four-up sprint for his biggest win since taking a stage of the Tour of Luxemberg last year..
Britain’s Mark Cavendish finished, as he put it to CW after the stage, “a good way behind the main bunch. I lost contact on a climb with the peloton and then hammered it in the grupetto for a good while. But we never caught up again.”
Cavendish said that despite the disappointing result, “I felt a lot better than I had done the day before, [where Cavendish took fourth in the bunch sprint after several days frantic travelling that left him running on empty] but today wasn’t my kind of stage.”
Stage three’s 192 kilometre stage on Friday from Verviers to La Gileppe is equally lumpy – parts of the course are the same as for Liege-Bastogne-Liege - but the British sprinter is more optimistic about Saturday’s final stage to Eindhoven – “which is dead flat. It should be a bunch sprint.”
In theory the T-Mobile rider will not be taking part in the Sunday team time trial ProTour race in Eindhoven, although he is down as a reserve. Then next week he heads to Italy for training before coming back for the National Championships.