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Martin Kohler: ""I'm tired now, but the day was really good for me". (Foto by Tim De Waele).
Martin Kohler: ""I'm tired now, but the day was really good for me". (Foto by Tim De Waele).

Martin Kohler snags 3rd place in Sarthe GC with breakaway bonus seconds

7. April 2009


Getting an important week of racing off to a good start for BMC, Martin Kohler inserted himself into the day's main breakaway in the first stage of the Circuit Cyclist Sarthe which takes place in France's Loire region.  Kohler escaped with two companions before the stage's first sprint bonification opportunity. 

As one of the team's top sprinters, Kohler secured the 3 second time bonus at two of the designated sprints in the stage, gaining six extra seconds in his GC standing.  The stage was won by Italian Enrico Rossi, who had been one of Kohler's two breakaway companions.  Kohler's ride earned him 3rd place on the GC, 13 seconds back from the day's victor.

High spirits in the sun

"It was a really good day for the team," Directeur Sportif John Lelangue explained.  "Our plan was to go with the early break since in a race like this the best way to get an early advantage is to use the on-road bonification points."    Kohler and his companions escaped having made one of the first attacks on the day.  "We got away almost immediately, and two of us were caught with only 7km to go," Martin Kohler explained.  "On a 700 meter hill, the guy who won the stage attacked us out of the break, but having fought for the sprint points by then, I was a little too tired to follow his acceleration."   Gaining six extra seconds in an event like this, though could prove extremely useful by week's end.  "Martin winning these extra bonus seconds will be very important, I think," Lelangue reiterated.  "This race is often decided by seconds, and Martin is in as good a standing as any to do well."

Riding strongly as a team

The beautiful day in France made the racing a treat for the riders.  "I'm tired now, but the day was really good for me," Kohler said.  "The weather is so nice and the parcours fits me well, so I am confident for the next stages." Following the high-spirits after the team's success at Redlands in the US, the group is riding with an extra note of confidence.  "Once we had Martin in the break, the other five guys on the team worked very well together at the front of the pack," Lelangue said.  "They were always in the front and always attentive."  Positioning in the peloton has proved challenging for the group this season, but the team's performance in Sarthe's stage 1 highlights how well they know how to work the pack.  "They were good the whole day, keeping together at the front and disrupting the chase for as long as possible," Lelangue concluded.  "Since we are riding so well as a team, I have very high hopes for the next stages."

Kohler playing it cool

The team was doubly fortunate to have Kohler in the break for the day since the stage race is well suited to his strengths.  "Kohler can sprint well of course, and he is also a strong time triallist in short distances," Lelangue pointed out.  Kohler has proved on several occasions, such as at the Tour of Romandie prologue in 2008, that he is very solid over short time trial distances.  With a 100 kilometer morning stage followed by a 6 kilometer afternoon time trial, the team hopes to find Kohler in an equally high position Wednesday evening.  "In the morning stage tomorrow, I will do my best to recover, though I might try for a couple sprint points again," Kohler said.  "But I am very excited for the time trial since it looks to be the sort of event I can do well in so long as I have recovered."  "Martin should be well-rested for tomorrow even with his effort in the break today," Lelangue believes.  "Since there are no big mountain climbs in this event, it is always good to gain the seconds wherever you can, and Martin is already in an excellent position."