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Martin impresses with 8th on Tour opening stage

Posted 01 July 2012

Dan Martin provided an early indication of his staging winning potential in this  year’s Tour de France after taking eighth place in a thrilling finale to the opening road stage in Seraing.
The 198 kilometre long stage was won by Peter Sagan (Cannondale-Liqugas) from a three-man group ahead of race leader Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky).
Martin, who is making his Tour debut, pushed all the way to the line to secure an early top ten stage placing while cousin Nicolas Roche (AG2R La Mondiale) proved that he too is on song with 18th place.
Their success in finishing among the first group of 48 riders on the tough finishing climb of the fourth category Cote de Seraing saw Martin jump to 24th in the GC at 24 seconds with Roche just one place and one second further behind.
Both riders managed to the avoid the traditional series of crashes which take place on the opening stage and were well placed as the peloton shut down a six-man break with nine kilometres to go.
The decision of the Lotto-Belisol team to take charge of the race made the initial selection with a long turn by team sprinter Andre Greipel indicating their belief that the finishing climb was not suited to the sprinters.
The pelton was soon at breaking point and the leading group was strung out as they hit the climb where defending race champion Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) gave a flash of his good form with a stint at the head of the race.
Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma Quickstep) attacked on the steepest part of the climb with Michael Albasini marking the move to capitalise upon the good work of his Orica-GreenEdge team.
Roche looked well capable of fighting for the stage win as he allowed Cancellara to tow the chase group back up to the leaders but Sagan was the only rider who had the legs to go with the Swiss leader when he attacked at the 1.5 kilometre marker.
Boasson Hagen dug deep to catch the duo with 800 metres to go but paid the price for his effort as Sagan let Cancellara pull him to the closing 150 metres where he launched the sprint that earned him his first Tour win.
Cancellara continues to lead Bradley Wiggins (Sky) by seven seconds overall with Chavanel third on the same time. 
Tour de France
Stage 1: Liege - Seraing 198 kilometers
1.  Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale 4:58:19
2.  Fabian Cancellara (Swi) RadioShack-Nissan
3.  Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling
4.  Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team
5.  Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
6.  Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team
7.  Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
8.  Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin - Sharp
9.  Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin - Sharp
10.  Dries Devenyns (Bel) Omega Pharma-QuickStep
18. Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Monidale - same time
General classification after stage 1:
1.  Fabian Cancellara (Swi) RadioShack-Nissan 5:05:32
2.  Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:00:07
3.  Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-QuickStep
4.  Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:00:10
5.  Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling 0:00:11
6.  Denis Menchov (Rus) Katusha Team 0:00:13
7.  Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team
8.  Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:17
9.  Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:00:18
10. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin - Sharp
24. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp at 24 seconds
25. Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale at 25 seconds

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