Madrid - Tony Martin broke away to win the second stage of the Tour of Basque Country on Tuesday, while overall leader Alberto Contador maintained his 14-second advantage.
"At 15 kilometres to go, we knew to try and win this race — so I attacked the breakaway," said Martin, who won a leg that included four categorized climbs by 30 seconds in a time of 3 hours, 46 minutes, 17 seconds.
Contador allowed the breakaways to ride out of sight as he stayed close to closest challenger Alejandro Valverde, who attempted to escape late in the 155.8km stage to no avail.
"Alejandro attacked, and I would have done the same thing if I was in his situation," Contador said.
"There were spots where you could go for it, but I was very attentive to respond."
Contador, a former Tour de France champion, leads Valverde with an overall time of 7:51:54 for Tinkoff-Saxo. Michal Kwiatkowski of Poland is third — 34 seconds off the pace.
"It wasn't a day where moves were made, but where a lot of energy was spent," Contador said.
Martin's first victory of the season gave his Omega-Pharma Quick Step team its 20th stage win of the season.
"This morning I was really motivated.
"Everybody wanted to try and go," Martin said.
"It was the perfect situation.
"We collaborated really well with the other guys in the breakaway."
The five-stage race continues on Wednesday with a 194.7km leg from Urdax to the Basque capital city of Vitoria.
Results from the Tour of the Basque country cycling race following Tuesday's second stage, a 155.8km ride from Ordizia to Dantxarinea:
1. Tony Martin (GER/OPQ) 3h46min 17sec, 2. Ben Swift (ENG/SKY) at 0:30sec, 3. Michal Kwiatkowski (POL/OPQ) same time, 4. Damiano Cunego (ITA/LAM) s.t., 5. Paul Martens (GER/BKN) s.t., 6. Alejandro Valverde (ESP/MOV) s.t., 7. Maxim Iglinskiy (KAZ/AST) s.t., 8. Yukiya Arashiro (JPN/EUC) s.t., 9. Michael Matthews (AUS/ORI) s.t, 10. Rinaldo Nocentini (ITA/ALM) s.t.
16. Alberto Contador (ESP/TIN) s.t.
1. Alberto Contador (ESP/TIN) 7hr 51min 54sec, 2. Alejandro Valverde (ESP/MOV) at 0:14sec, 3. Michal Kwiatkowski (POL/OPQ) 0:34, 4. Damiano Cunego (ITA/LAM) 0:36, 5. Cadel Evans (AUS/BMC) 0:36, 6. Jean Christophe Peraud (FRA/ALM) 0:36, 7. Mikel Nieve (ESP/SKY) 0:36, 8. Yury Trofimov (RUS/KAT) 0:36, 9. Roman Kreuziger (CZE/TIN) 0:54, 10. Mikel Landa (ESP/AST) 0:54.