Dan Martin wins stage two of Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana

Irish cyclist gains confidence as he picks up his first victory since October 2014

Showing superb early-season form, Dan Martin ended a 480-day wait on Thursday when he picked up his first victory since October 2014.

The Irish climber triumphed on stage two of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, attacking inside the final kilometre of the race to Fredes. He overhauled lone leader José Herrada (Movistar) and then held off those chasing behind, hitting the line two seconds ahead of the Spaniard and race leader Wout Poels (Team Sky).

It was the earliest season win of his career and also the first with his new Etixx-QuickStep squad.

“Even from the start of today’s stage I really believed I had a chance to win. I had the legs, I managed to score this victory and have that perfect start to the season,” he said. “Navarro attacked and when I looked up and saw we are entering the last kilometre, I decided to give it a go.” Martin ends the day 13th overall, exactly one minute behind Poels. The Spanish race continues until Sunday.


Elsewhere, Connor McConvey was 36th on stage two of the Etoile de Bessèges in France, following on from his 25th on day one. An Post Chainreaction team-mate Damien Shaw also rolled in as part of the main bunch, placing 96th. First to the line was race leader Bryan Coquard.

McConvey is a solid 21st overall, 20 seconds behind Coquard, while Shaw is 115th. Over at the Dubai Tour, Stephen Clancy and Matt Brammeier were 84th and 113th on stage two of the race.

At home, the route of the Kerry Group Rás Mumhan has been announced and is another tough edition. The four-day race begins in Killorglin on Good Friday and finishes 105km later in the same town.

Stage two offers plenty for climbers over the 145km distance, with the category one climb of the Healy Pass featuring early on and two category two ascents coming close to the finish in Kenmare.

Day three is 135km in length and both starts and finishes in Waterville. The category one Coom An Easpaig summits inside the final hour of racing and will likely play a major part in the stage result.

The concluding stage is mainly flat and will include three laps of the Beaufort circuit prior to ten laps of Killorglin. Totalling 115km in length, it will decide the final winner of the event.

Shane Stokes

Shane Stokes

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