Dan Martin looks comfortable as summit finish arrives in Catalunya

Posted on: March 26th, 2019

Dan Martin was to the fore in the final push for the line today in Catalunya. He looked strong ahead of the big climbing showdown on the stage 3 summit finish tomorrow.

 

Dan Martin has kept himself in contention at Volta a Catalunya by taking 10th place on what was a testing second stage today.

Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) opened his account for the year with victory at the head of a reduced bunch on the uphill finish into Sant Feliu de Guixols  after 166.7km.

It was a strong win for the Australian who finished 12th in just his second full race of the season at Milan-Sanremo on Saturday.

Matthews was set for an assault on Paris-Nice two weeks ago but crashed out of the race on the opening stage.

Today he finished in front on an all-star group, with Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) 2nd and Tour Down Under winner Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott) in 3rd.

Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) was 10th in what was a 60-man dash to the line as the race lead stayed with Thomas de Gendt.

The Lotto-Soudal rider was the sole survivor from the breakaway yesterday; taking victory on the day and the leader’s jersey by almost three minutes.

With an undulating finale today after the early escape had been caught, the closing stages were marked by aggression.

De Gendt managed to slip away briefly on the final climb to add to his climbers’ classification lead.

 

 

And after Chris Froome came down in a crash, and lost more than 14 minutes, Team Sky’s focus was with Egan Bernal.

An effort to set him up for a go at the time bonification on offer with just over 7km to go was scuppered when Valverde and team mate Nairo Quintana were first and second at the sprint point.

Natnael Berhane (Cofidis), Michael Woods (EF Education First) and Maximilian Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) all tried to get clear as the finish approached.

However, it came down to a sprint won by Matthews, with Dan Martin looking comfortable nine riders back.

Tomorrow’s 179km stage features the Vallter 2000 summit finish and should produce some great racing.

Assuming Froome recovers and can start, and ride well, tomorrow he will be on domestique duties for the much fancied Paris-Nice winner Bernal.

And as a previous overall winner of the race, and double stage victor, Dan Martin will also fancy his chances of adding to his palmares before the race is done on Sunday.

 

Michael Matthews takes his first win of 2019 today and looks in very good form despite some bad luck of late.

 

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