Dan Martin finishes second in Tour of the Basque Country
Irish rider finishes final stage in second place behind Adam Yates
Dan Martin finished second overall in the Tour of the Basque Country. Photograph: Stephane Mahe/Reuters
Dan Martin had a storming final day at the Tour of the Basque Country, netting second on the mountainous stage to Eibar and finishing second overall.
The four, plus Martin’s team-mate Tadej Pogacar, got clear of race leader Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) plus the rest of the field on the climb of the Azurki, about 65 kilometres from the finish. Martin had started the day fourth overall, level on time with Fuglsang, but picked up bonus seconds at the intermediate sprints to gain a buffer on the Dane.
Martin then attacked inside the final 14 kilometres, trying to get enough time to take the stage and the final yellow jersey. He was, however, hauled back several minutes later.
Yates then jumped away inside the final four kilometres, surging clear on the final ramp of the race, and just about held off Martin at the finish. Izagirre took the final overall classification, with Martin finishing 29 seconds back in second place.
Confusion then ensued: a hard-chasing Buchmann went the wrong way close to the finish, apparently the fault of a race official who misdirected the group he was with.
Race judges accepted that the German wasn’t at fault and recalculated the time lost, declaring that he finished second overall and thus dropping Martin to third. However, this was later revised again, with Martin being credited with second place and Buchmann shifting to third.
Martin said he was fired up on the final day of racing. “We were very strong throughout the stage . . . it was a very nice day for the team. We all found ourselves racing with great motivation. Everyone had important goals and so we pushed hard to the finish line.
“I would have liked to have won the stage, but Yates took a small advantage on the last climb. I knew I would have won if I managed to come back to him, but it was a bittersweet ending. I did, however, take second place and second overall, and that means something.”
The result shows that Martin is coming into fine form in advance of an expected participation in the Ardennes Classics, which are a regular season goal for him. He won Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2013 and finished second four years later.
TOUR OF THE BASQUE COUNTRY (WORLDTOUR)
Stage 6, Eibar to Eibar: 1 Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) 118.2 kilometres in 2 hours 59 mins 46 secs; 2 D Martin (UAE Team Emirates) at 1 sec; 3 J Fuglsang (Astana Pro Team); 4 I Izagirre (Astana Pro Team) both same time; 5 T Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) at 27 secs; 6 B Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) at 1 min 24 secs
Final general classification: 1 Ion Izagirre (Astana Pro Team) 19 hours 24 mins 9 secs; 2 D Martin (UAE Team Emirates) at 29 secs; 3 E Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) at 31 secs; 4 J Fuglsang (Astana Pro Team) at 36 secs; 5 A Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) at 51 secs; 6 T Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) at 1 min 56 secs