Team HTC-HighRoad's Tony Martin Wins 2011 Paris-Nice

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03/13/2011| 0 comments
by AP and Roadcycling.com
Tony Martin, Andreas Klöden and Bradley Wiggins on the podium in Nice. Photo Fotoreporter Sirotti.
Tony Martin, Andreas Klöden and Bradley Wiggins on the podium in Nice. Photo Fotoreporter Sirotti.

Team HTC-HighRoad's Tony Martin Wins 2011 Paris-Nice

Team HTC-Highroad rider Tony Martin of Germany overcame another rain-soaked and slippery stage to win the 2011 Paris-Nice race and claim the biggest victory of his promising career earlier today. Team Europcar's Thomas Voeckler won the final stage from Nice to Nice.

Team HTC-Highroad rider Tony Martin of Germany overcame another rain-soaked and slippery stage to win the 2011 Paris-Nice race and claim the biggest victory of his promising career earlier today. Team Europcar's Thomas Voeckler won the final stage from Nice to Nice.

Martin won the prestigious one-week 'Race to the Sun' by retaining the yellow jersey after Team Europcar's French Champion Thomas Voeckler won the eighth and final 124-kilometer stage from Nice to Nice with a solo effort.

Martin won ahead of fellow German and former Paris-Nice champion Andreas Klöden, who finished 36 seconds back in the overall standings for US Team RadioShack. Team Sky's Bradley Wiggins of Britain was third, 41 seconds back.

"I'm so happy but I need some time to think about it," Martin told Roadcycling.com and Roadcycling.mobi after the finish and added "I'm just thrilled to win now. I was not sure about my win today because there were strong riders in front but everything ended fine. It's a fantastic start to the season, which gives me confidence for the next races."

The 25-year-old Martin, a former track specialist, took the yellow jersey from Kloeden after winning Friday's decisive time trial.

Martin has often been compared to former Tour de France champion Jan Ullrich for his powerful style and is widely considered a potential future Tour de France winner.

"For sure, my biggest goal this season is to have a good Tour de France," Martin commented and continued "Hopefully I can do it, I think I'm ready for it."

Voeckler, who claimed his second stage win after taking Wednesday's fourth stage, made his decisive move less than 10 kilometers from the finish when he attacked in the descent of the Col d'Eze to drop his breakaway companion Diego Ulissi of Italy.

Voeckler crossed the finish line on the Promenade des Anglais 23 seconds ahead of Ulissi. Julien El Fares of France finished third, 1:06 back.

"It's more than satisfying, I'm really happy," said Voeckler, who first came to prominence when he wore the Tour de France's yellow jersey for nine days in 2004.

"I took many risks in the descent today. I thought I was too old for taking risks like this but I'm still on fire," Voeckler added. "With those meteorological conditions, the race was tailored for warriors, and it makes me even prouder."

Spaniard and Team Euskaltel rider Samuel Sanchez, who took fifth place in the overall standings, attacked in the Col d'Eze but his move left Martin unfazed as the German time trial champion finished the stage with the other main contenders.

"We've won lots of stage races before, but never one of this calibre," Team HTC-Highroad sports director Allan Peiper commented and added "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," Peiper continued.

"The only thing that could really have undone us was the weather," Peiper added,

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