Dan Martin shows true character in thrilling Catalunya finish

Posted on: March 27th, 2019

Irish rider climbed with the best and when he was tested he dug deep repeatedly

Dan Martin Valenica
Dan Martin was chasing the race lead and a stage win. He lacked a little in the legs but made up for that in spades by his willingness to suffer; a terrific ride in Catalunya.

Dan Martin may not have won today’s stage at Volta a Catalunya, but he showed the grit of a true champion.

He was chasing the race leader’s jersey as well as a stage win and went very close to both; finishing 3rd on the day and now placed 4th overall.

The Irishman finished in a group of five at the end of the 179km stage 3 to Vallter 2000; surviving with them by digging in again and again.

Martin was with Colombians Egan Bernal (Team Sky), Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) and Tirreno-Adriatico runner-up Adam Yates (Mitchelton Scott).

It’s no insult to Martin to say that he lacked a little in the legs today compared to those he was with. But he made up for it with his sheer ability to suffer

Race leader Thomas de Gendt rode his heart out up the final climb and at the top he was shattered after his effort; but still in the leader’s jersey.

But as he was repeatedly dropped off the back of the group, he would then claw his way back again and again.

The last time he regained contact was just before the leaders reached the 1km to go banner. And as soon as they dipped inside that marker, Martin had a ging off the front of the group.

He was overhauled, though led out the sprint from about 200 metres out. And while Yates passed him to win and Bernal was 2nd, Martin took a terrific 3rd place on the stage.

Quintana was next in 4th place; the top four finishing on the same time and some two seconds ahead of Lopez.

And the next man home was Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma) 30 seconds down followed by Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha–Alpecin) 45 seconds back.

The opening stage winner – by over three minutes solo – and race leader this morning, Thomas de Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) has retained his lead.

He lost the vast bulk of his advantage but he still has some 27 seconds in hand over Yates, now 2nd overall.

Bernal is next at 30 seconds and then comes Martin at 33 seconds, Quintana at 35 seconds and Lopez at 39 seconds with another climbing stage tomorrow.