Rotten luck for Dan Martin as he crashes out of Giro d’Italia

Irish rider is carted off to hospital with a suspected broken collarbone

 Canadian rider Svein Tuft of the Orica Greenedge team   celebrates on the podium after his team had won the first stage of the 2014 Giro d’Italia in Belfast.

Canadian rider Svein Tuft of the Orica Greenedge team celebrates on the podium after his team had won the first stage of the 2014 Giro d’Italia in Belfast.

Sat, May 10, 2014, 01:00

Three Irish riders started yesterday’s team time trial in the Giro d’Italia, drawing special motivation from the rare chance to ride in front of Irish fans in one of the biggest races in the world. Of those three, just two finished; Dan Martin, stage winner in last year’s Tour de France and one of the top riders in the sport, hit the deck after the halfway point in the 21.7-kilometre Belfast course, crashing out of the race.

The fall was rotten luck for Martin, particularly as he had gone into the Giro aiming for a stage win and possibly a top-three finish overall. Instead he was the only rider out of the 198-strong field not to complete the race, travelling to hospital instead and receiving treatment for a suspected broken collarbone.

His Giro d’Italia, expected to last three weeks, instead lasted less than 16 minutes.

First cousin Nicolas Roche had a fine ride, with his Tinkoff Saxo team running second for much of the test before finishing up a solid fourth out of 22 teams. That saw Roche finish the day 27th overall, 23 seconds behind the race leader Svein Tuft, while Philip Deignan’s Sky team was fifth. The Donegal rider is 32nd this morning, 35 seconds off pink.

First holder
The first holder of the coveted Maglia Rosa is Tuft, by virtue of the fact that the Canadian led home the victorious Orica GreenEdge squad. It had been the second team to start and, already fancied as one of the favourites for the time trial, benefited from dry roads prior to some showers.

“It is an amazing day. It started out with a lot of stress. I was thinking, ‘this is a pretty crazy way to spend your birthday’. To finish on that note is great and I can’t thank my team enough for giving me that opportunity,” beamed Tuft after it was confirmed that he would get the Maglia Rosa.

“It was really a birthday present. This team is really selfless in that way and I am just really fortunate to be given that gift.”

He explained in the post race press conference that there was an element of luck at play; the teams’ starting order is determined by lottery, and so his team being able to race on dry roads was thanks to that draw.

Conversely, Martin’s Giro ended due to misfortune; his team went off on wetter roads, and then he was unlucky enough to hit what appeared to be a slippery manhole cover, tumbling to the ground. Three other riders from the team also came a cropper, but the 27-year-old Irishman was the only one badly enough hurt to have to stop.

The many thousands of fans will now give their support to Roche and Deignan instead on today’s 219 kilometre stage which starts at Titanic Belfast, heads north and then along the Antrim coastline, then finishes at City Hall this afternoon.

Those two will also race on home roads tomorrow when the race heads from Armagh to Dublin.

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