News: Dan Martin wins Lombardy


Dan Martin added another Monument to his Palmeres with a win in the Italian Monument, the Tour of Lombardy

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News: Dan Martin wins Lombardy

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Dan Martin rode to a dramatic victory today at the Giro di Lombardia on Sunday.

With the help of his teammates doing work at 10km to go, the former British Junior Road Race Champion made the decisive 10 rider selection on the last climb into Bergamo. As the lead group slowed with 700 meters to go, Dan took a flyer and held on to win his 2nd monument of cycling.

Martin is the second Irish rider to win Lombardy, with Sean Kelly claiming three previous victories.

The Irishman said after winning “I just love this race,” Martin said. “It’s one of my favourite races. It’s just incredible to win it. I actually planned to attack on the last climb but I couldn’t get through because there were too many people and the guys were going so hard anyway”.

“I saw (Philippe) Gilbert and (Michael) Albasini – they are really fast – and Alejandro (Valverde) as well, so I needed to try something and the opportunity happened. Once I got the gap, it was so close to the line, I just had to go as hard as I could and not crash on the last corner.”

There was an early break of 11 riders who led for most of the race and at one point had an advantage of over 11 minutes. However, that gap started dropping sharply on the approach to the Passo di Ganda — at the start of the most difficult part of the course — and there was just Sergio Paulinho and Andrea Fedi left up front with 40K (25 miles) to go.

Dutchman Pieter Weening (Orica-GreenEdge) and Belgium’s Ben Hermans (BMC) then formed a two-man breakaway and built up a slender lead after navigating their way over the key climb of Berbenno. But the duo were caught by the main peloton five km from the finish as they made their way up the final climb of the Bergamo Alto.

The stars of the show including former winners Philippe Gilbert and Joaquim Rodríguez launched attacks on the road into Bergamo but unable to close the gap on Martin as he made his allor nothing dash to the finish line.

By finishing second, Alejandro Valverde dtakes over the lead in the World Tour rankings.  The Movistar rider said afterwards “I had the legs to win the race and I’m a bit sad about that, but nothing is taken for granted in pro cycling.”

“Everyone was looking at me when Martin attacked, they left all responsibility on my shoulders to go after him. I just couldn’t control everything in the end and we had to sprint for 2nd place, which we achieved. Still, I’m happy about today’s result: the team worked well, I accompllished the goal of getting back into the WorldTour lead and these 66 points make things look well in view of the final race”.

“This second place is a tribute to my whole family and my kids, especially the newborn Natalia. These weren’t easy days when it comes to resting: I was always going everywhere to look after my wife and the kids and I could only get to Italy on Saturday evening. The effort was worth, though. Lombardy is a really beautiful race, and though I’m not happy I couldn’t win it this time, surely there will be more chances to take that grudge off.”

The Spaniard overtook Alberto Contador, who crashed in the final 250 meters and finished 34th. “Right now, the most important thing is to see how my knee feels tonight and tomorrow morning, when the initial swelling has subsided,” Contador, said. “I will keep my eyes on Tour of Beijing and hopefully I’ll be able to compete.”

The 2013 World Champion Rui Costa had one his best races in 2014 with third, a week after the Worlds where he was unable to defend the rainbow bands. In his first appearance without the rainbow jersey on his back, the Portuguese rider was second to Valverde in the sprint in sight of Martin winning the race ahead.

“First of all, I want to thank my team mates” he said afterwards, “because they perfectly supported me from the start to the last climb. I could not ask more from them and I tried to give the team a top result. All nine members of the group that was leading the race after the climb of Bergamo Alta were pedaling with little energy left, so we were all waiting for the sprint, but Martin attacked when the speed had decreased and he deserved the victory”.

“The third place is a good result, I’m happy I could honour the first race I took part in without wearing the rainbow jersey. Today is my birthday and it would have been great celebrating it with a victory, but I’m satisfied celebrating it knowing that I’m the first Portugese cyclist to be on the podium of the Giro di Lombardia and that now I’m fourth in the World Tour ranking“.

It was a bad day for World Champion Michal Kwiatkowski who suffered from a bad case of cramp and finished nearly 10 minutes behing Martin. Today I felt great,” Kwiatkowski said. “I said to the guys that they could support me, and I got that from them. I was relaxed the whole race. I’m thankful for them”.

“But 12 kilometers before the finish I got a cramp in my right leg and I couldn’t pedal anymore. I am not sure what the reason as, but after six and a half hours on the bike those things can happen. I am disappointed in not finishing with a good result at this race, but at the end of the day what can you say?”

“At that point I only tried to get to the finish with honor. Having this jersey with the rainbow stripes on my chest is an incredible feeling. I exited the bus today and the public started to scream my name. That’s something new for me, but I get such support from the spectators during the race it’s amazing. Now my long season is over, and I am happy to end it as UCI World Road Champion. I am looking forward to next season already, riding for Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in the rainbow jersey once again. Now I need rest, and I will see everyone on the road again soon.”

1. Martin Daniel, Garmin Sharp 6:25:33
2. Valverde Alejandro, Movistar Team 0:01
3. Costa Rui, Lampre-Merida
4. Wellens Tim, Lotto Belisol
5. Sánchez Samuel, BMC Racing Team
6. Albasini Michael, Orica GreenEDGE
7. Gilbert Philippe, BMC Racing Team
8. Rodríguez Joaquim, Team Katusha
9. Aru Fabio, Astana Pro Team
10. Nocentini Rinaldo, AG2R La Mondiale 0:14

23. Kreuziger Roman, Tinkoff-Saxo 0:31
24. Schleck Fränk, Trek Factory Racing :42
25. Evans Cadel, BMC Racing Team 0:46
31. Visconti Giovanni, Movistar Team 0:54
34. Contador Alberto, Tinkoff-Saxo6
77. Kwiatkowski Michal, Omega Pharma – Quick-Step5

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