Dan Martin suffered fractures to back during Tour race

Irish cyclist battled on after sustaining injury on stage nine and managed to finish sixth

Irish cyclist Daniel Martin on the20th stage of the  Tour de France. He is out of action for the next three weeks due to his injury. Photograph:  Jeff Pachoud/AFP/Getty Images

Irish cyclist Daniel Martin on the20th stage of the Tour de France. He is out of action for the next three weeks due to his injury. Photograph: Jeff Pachoud/AFP/Getty Images

 

Dan Martin’s sixth place in the Tour de France has taken on a new significance after the discovery that he had suffered two fractures to his back during the race.

The QuickStep Floors rider hit the ground hard when Australian rider Richie Porte crashed and slid into his path on stage nine. Martin battled on and eventually finished sixth, the best Irish result in the Tour since his uncle Stephen Roche won the race in 1987.

However, post-race, a medical examination revealed two small transverse process fracture to L2 and L3 vertebrae.

“During the Tour I didn’t have any problems when racing, but off the bike I wasn’t feeling very comfortable,” he said. “So this week I did a scan and got the news. It’s a real pity I won’t ride San Sebastian, because the legs were there and it’s a race I like. But fortunately this injury isn’t something to worry about.

“In order to tackle my future goals in good condition, it’s better to take a break and give the fracture time to heal. There’s nothing else I can do, just rest and then build up for the final part of the season.”

Designated leader

He will be out of action for the next three weeks, using that time to fully recover before pinning on a race number again.

Meanwhile his first cousin Nicolas Roche will line out as part of the BMC Racing squad in the Clasica San Sebastian on Saturday. He has previously finished fifth and eighth in the event, but the team has named Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet as the designated leader for the race.

Roche has been provisionally named for the Vuelta a España, with final confirmation yet to come. The race is one of his favourites of the season. He told The Irish Times on Thursday that he is also hoping to target the world championship road race and time trial.

In Hungary, Ireland had its most successful European Youth Olympic Festival campaign to date, with competitors riding strongly there. On Tuesday Lara Gillespie took a superb silver in the 10 kilometre time trial. She was hampered by a crash in Thursday’s road race, but team-mate Maeve Gallagher was eighth.

Also finishing eighth was Shay Donley, who was fourth in the bunch sprint behind four breakaway riders.

The two top-10 results were the best finishes by Irish riders in a road race event at the games.

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