Dan Martin pushes hard in preparation for worlds

Ireland’s Sam Bennett eager to finish Tour of Britain on a high this weekend

Team Great Britain’s Simon Yates celebrates as he wins at the summit of the climb at Haytor, during stage six of the 2013 Tour of Britain from Sidmouth to Haytor. Photograph: Tim Ireland/PA Wire

Team Great Britain’s Simon Yates celebrates as he wins at the summit of the climb at Haytor, during stage six of the 2013 Tour of Britain from Sidmouth to Haytor. Photograph: Tim Ireland/PA Wire

Fri, Sep 20, 2013, 20:11

Irish pro Dan Martin continued to build his form in advance of the world road race championships yesterday, riding aggressively in the finale of the Tour of Britain.

The Garmin-Sharp rider attacked twice on the final climb, digging deep in order to sharpen up his condition prior to the elite road race on Sunday week. He is returning from the concussion which forced him to drop out of the Vuelta a España, and is riding the British event primarily as preparation for the worlds.

Rather than sitting in and waiting for the sprint at the top of the final Haytor climb, Martin prioritised building form over seeking a result and kicked hard with three kilometres to go. After being reeled in by race leader Bradley Wiggins’s Sky team, he jumped again very soon afterwards.

The effort saw him fade after being recaptured and he crossed the line one minute and one second after stage winner Simon Yates (Great Britain). As for Thursday’s Irish stage winner Sam Bennett (An Post Chainreaction Sean Kelly), his intention to try for another strong result was foiled when he had bike problems in the finale.

With big group finishes the most likely outcome on Saturday’s stage and Sunday’s final leg, Bennett will try to again show the pro teams in the race what he can do. “I’d love to win a bunch sprint,” he told the Irish Times, showing his ambition.

Wiggins holds a 32 seconds lead over closest rival Martin Elmiger (IAM Cycling). Martin is fourteenth overall.