German Paul Martens (Blanco) defied the sprinters to win the opening stage of the Volta ao Algarve – the Tour of the Algarve – in Portugal on Thursday.
Martens and Tiago Machado (RadioShack-Leopard) launched a late, successful attack to distance themselves from the rapidly accelerating bunch. Martens edged out Machado on the line, with Marten’s team-mate Theo Bos bringing home the peloton for third.
Mark Cavendish came home in sixth after his Omega Pharma-QuickStep squad had done much of the work to keep the day’s early escape group in check. An earlier five-man breakaway had been away for the majority of the stage, but was reeled in within the last 10 kilometres as the race headed towards the finish in Albufeira.
Along with Cavendish, all of the British riders in the race – Jonathan Tiernan-Locke, Josh Edmondson (both Sky), Tomas Metcalfe (Carmim-Tavira), Mark McNally, Kieran Frend (both An Post-Chain Reaction) and Alex Dowsett (Movistar) – finished safely in the bunch at the same time as Martens.
The four-stage UCI 2.1-ranked race concludes on Sunday February 17 with a decisive individual time trial.
Last year’s race was won by Richie Porte (Sky). The Australian isn’t present to defend his title as he’s currently riding in the Tour of Oman in support of Chris Froome.
Paul Martens defies the sprinters to take the win
Valentines Day kisses for Martens on the podium
Paul Martens in the leader’s jersey