Dan Martin still in Volta a Catalunya contention

Online fundraising project seeks to raise money for televising of Irish cycling events

Dan Martin remained in contention for a strong overall finish in the Volta a Catalunya on Thursday, finishing the stage to Igualada alongside all the main contenders.

The fourth leg of the race was shortened by 60 kilometres due to snow at the start town in Llívia, leaving the riders with 134 kilometres to scrap things out. The flatter profile meant the stage wasn't anything as selective as that of Wednesday, enabling French sprinter Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) to take the win.

Martin finished a solid 13th, crossing the line in the same time. He remains 13th overall, two minutes and two seconds behind the American Tejay Van Garderen (BMC Racing Team).

Martin won the event in 2014 and hoped to be closer to the race lead at this point. However his QuickStep Floors team had a quieter-than-expected performance in Tuesday’s team time trial, dropping two minutes and 13 seconds to Van Garderen’s squad.


The Irishman recouped a little of that time when he placed second on Wednesday’s mountain stage to La Molina, opening up a three second gap on many of the general classification riders by the line and also picking up a time bonus.

He was pipped by Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), who came around him inside the final 100 metres.

Martin said that there was a headwind towards the end of the stage. This enabled Valverde to profit from his decision to lead out the sprint.

“I wanted to repeat last year’s [stage] win. Even though I didn’t do it, I remain upbeat, as I am sure other opportunities will come this week,” he said.

Friday’s summit finish to Lo Port will be one of those, giving Martin a platform to both chase a stage victory and also to try to get closer to the leader’s jersey.

Fundraising project

In other news, an online fundraising project has been established to raise money for the televising of a number of major events in 2017.

The Irish Cycling Network company hopes to film and then screen the VisitNenagh.ie Classic, the Shay Elliott Classic, the Suir Valley Three Day, the John Beggs Memorial and the Friends First Laragh Classic, as well as release an Irish Cycling Series show.

It has inked arrangements with the Bike Channel, Eir Sport and TG4 to broadcast the events, with other programmes also possible. ICN has set an initial target of €5,000 in order to broadcast the VisitNenagh.ie Classic.

“For Irish bicycle racing to reach national television audiences in Ireland, we need to restore the levels that were achieved in the mid to late ’80s,” said director/producer Adrian O’Connor. “We need to see bicycle races like the Shay Elliott Classic and the Visit Nenagh Classic broadcast on national and international levels.

“This has been my goal from 2011 onwards, and this year I’ve secured that level of coverage on eir Sports, TG4 and Bike Channel UK and Italy.”

Further campaign details and donation options can be found at www.pledgesports.org/projects/bring-irish-cycling-to-the-world

Shane Stokes

Shane Stokes

Shane Stokes is a contributor to The Irish Times writing about cycling