Stay Home Stories: George Bennett
In the column ‘Stay Home Stories’, the cyclists of Team Jumbo-Visma talk about t...
Paul Martens finished seventh in Tirreno-Adriatico today in Arezzo, Italy. In a tense uphill sprint, he competed with the best, including stage winner Greg Van Avermaet (BMC).
Just like yesterday, one of the Team LottoNL-Jumbo-riders was in the breakaway. Nico Verhoeven appointed Rick Flens yesterday, and Flens went. Together with four other leaders, he saw his advantage grow to almost fifteen minutes. That gap decreased very quickly afterwards, which made it clear that it was going to be a day for the sprinters. “I was able to gain some hardness today,” Flens said. “You know it’s going to be a bunch sprint from the beginning, but we are just trying to show ourselves. When the advantage is getting so big, you hope for a good result for a while. When they started to hunt us down, the gap closed quickly. We tried to turn up the pace, but it didn’t work.”
In the last kilometres, Martens was clearly aiming for a good result. With 2.5 kilometres to go, Tom Leezer did a great job to get Sep Vanmarcke and Martens in front of the peloton. Vanmarcke continued and led Martens to a good position while they climbed the narrow streets of Arezzo. “Particularly Sep took Paul to a good position,” sports director, Nico Verhoeven said. “When you look at the riders who finished in the top ten today, you have to admit that Paul did a good job. We wanted to be active, and we succeeded. It’s a fact that we are overtaken by events at the moment, but the best way to deal with that is to do the best you can. We have to be attacking, we have to show ourselves.”
“Tomorrow’s stage has a very tough final,” Verhoeven added. “The overall riders will be in charge. We have to make sure that we are in the race, as well. When it succeeds, it gives you a good feeling, but a rider has to be very strong, physically, to be in the breakaway for the whole day. The most important thing for this stage race is that everybody will make it until the end.”