Daniel Martin takes Lombardy Classic in style

Garmin Sharp rider jumps away inside final 600m to land prestigious race in Italy

Dan Martin turned around a frustrating season yesterday when he unleashed a superbly timed attack close to the line and snatched victory in the Il Lombardia Classic, one of the biggest one-day events of the year.

The Garmin-Sharp rider was part of a leading group at the end of the gruelling race and jumped from the back inside the final 600m .

The move caught the other riders unawares and the hesitation shown in leading the chase gave him the gap he needed to race home for his first victory of the year.

Martin finished a second clear of the chasing group, with last week's world championship bronze medallist Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) in second and 2013 world champion Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) third.


"It's one of my favourite races. It's just incredible to win it," said Martin, speaking about the event he was second in three years ago and fourth in 2013. Sean Kelly is the only other Irish winner of the race, taking the then Tour of Lombardy in 1983, 1985 and 1991.

While Martin is best known as a climber, he also has a burst of speed when reaching the line in a small group. He said the presence of Valverde, Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team) and Michael Albasini (Orica GreenEdge) meant he didn’t want to risk waiting until the final 200m.

“I needed to try something and . . . once I got the gap, it was so close to the line I just had to go as hard as I could and not crash on the last corner.”

Martin’s surge was tactically perfect and meant he clocked up a second Classic of his career after last year’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège win.

He went close to repeating the latter victory in April but crashed on the final corner while in a position to win. He also fell in the Giro d’Italia, breaking his collarbone in a fall on the opening day team time trial in Belfast. Crashing in last Sunday’s world road race championship made him wonder what he needed to do to avoid bad luck, but things changed for him here.

He will now travel to China for the Tour of Beijing and then end his season in the Japan Cup. He has previous success in both races, netting fourth and second in the last two editions of the Tour of Beijing, and placing first and second in the Japan Cup in 2010 and 2012 respectively.

Shane Stokes

Shane Stokes

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