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Garmin-Transitions was victorious on two fronts in racing across Europe on Tuesday.
Svein Tuft delivered a big win to open the Eneco Tour by taking the flowers in the prologue while recent Tour of Poland champ Danny Martin continued on his winning ways with victory in the Tre Valli Varesine in Italy.
Tuft, hot off his time trial victory in the Tour of Denmark earlier this month, was fastest of the ProTour pack on the streets of Steenwijk, Holland, to open the eight-day Eneco Tour. The Canadian powered ahead of three Rabobank riders to pip the Dutch-backed team on home roads.
Tuft, winner of the Canadian time trial championship in June, won the 5km prologue in 6 minutes, 18 seconds. Three Rabobanks finished behind him, with Jos Van Emden stopping the clock second at 5sec back, Lars Boom for third and Maarten Tjallingii both at 6sec off the pace. Defending champion Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) was fifth at seven seconds off Tuft’s time.
The win was Tuft’s third of the year with his most recent victory coming in the fifth stage time trial at the Tour of Denmark, a stage race in which he finished second overall in the final standings.
Tuft said he was confident going into the Eneco prologue.
“I had a good feeling this morning,” he said. “I felt good, I knew that I would do well, even though things got a little complicated with rain making some of the course dangerous at times.”
The Eneco Tour continues with a 178km stage from Steenwijk and Rhenen, which is also in Holland. While a flat stage, the route is exposed to strong winds and may not end up with the usual field sprint to the finish. Tuft said he had faith that his team would be able to protect the jersey in the week-long stage race.
“I expect the team to be able to defend the jersey on Wednesday,” he said. “It will be about keeping control of the breaks, but the team is strong enough to do that, I’m sure.”
Martin solos to Italian win
Over in Italy to open the three-day Trittico Lombardo, Martin held off Domenico Pozzovivo (Colnago) to take a solo victory by six seconds. Jerome Baugnies was third at 12 seconds back.
The victory is Tuft’s third TT win of the 2010 season and positions him well for a spot on Garmin-Transition’s Vuelta a España team. Martin will also be racing the Vuelta and could be an outsider for the podium following his strong Polish tour victory.
The wins mark a nice streak for Garmin-Transitions, which also saw Tyler Farrar successfully defend his Vattenfall Cyclassics title on Sunday.
The successes bring Garmin-Transitions’ haul to 22 wins on the 2010 season, fourth among ProTour teams. HTC-Columbia leads on the season with 47 team victories.