Dan Martin back in action and gearing up for Il Lombardia defence

Sean Kelly takes promise from Irish riders at World Road Race Championships

Dan Martin made a solid return to competition after crashing out of the Vuelta a España, netting 14th place in the Milan-Turin race in Italy on Thursday.

The Irish rider showed he has rebuilt solid form after suffering a separated shoulder on September 29th. He is trying to repeat his victory last year in the Il Lombardia Classic, which takes place on Sunday.

Martin said before Thursday's race that he was using it to "blow some cobwebs out". He finished 50 seconds behind Diego Rosa (Astana), who attacked on the final climb to win.

Martin is riding his final races with the Cannondale-Garmin team, the squad he turned professional with in 2008. He is moving to the Etixx-Quick-Step team in 2016.

In other news, Sean Kelly has said the Irish performance in last week's world Road Race Championships in Richmond, USA, was encouraging.

While no Irish finished in the top 10 of the events, he said that there were several prominent performances. One of those was by fellow Carrick-on-Suir native Sam Bennett, who was in contention in the Elite race until the final lap and ultimately finished 40th.

While he was 40 seconds behind the winner Peter Sagan, Kelly recognised that the 24-year-old pro has made progress for the future.

“Sam performed well, he did a good ride there,” he said. “He was there for a long, long way. It was a real strong performance. It proves that he can do a race of that distance, and that is promising for the Classics going forward.”

Successful move

Junior rider Michael O’Loughlin and under-23 competitor

Eddie Dunbar

were also prominent in their road races. O’Loughlin was part of the successful move, although he faded before the finish.

“You are up against the best in the world so it is always going to be difficult,” said Kelly. “But it is a promising performance from him as well.”

Ryan Mullen was the highest finisher, netting 11th in the under-23 time trial.

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