Cycling

Dan Martin Finishes Fourth In The Vuelta A Espana

Dan Martin Finishes Fourth In The Vuelta A Espana

In the final stage of the Vuelta a España, a podium finish just escaped Irish rider Dan Martin.

However, the Israel Start-Up Nation rider's fourth place finish is the best of any Irish rider in a Grand Tour since Sean Kelly's victory in the same event in 1988.

Martin went into the final day of the Vuelta knowing there would be a tough ride ahead, and eventually ended up 1:56 behind Britain's Hugh Carthy in third position.

A closely fought final stage meant that the winner of the Vuelta could have been between either Primoz Roglic or Richard Carapaz. Roglic eventually ran out the winner, finishing in 10th position on the stage, with Carapaz finishing ahead of him in eighth.

However, Carapaz couldn't overturn the 45 second gap, with Roglic leading the overall standings and taking the leader's red jersey by just 24 seconds.

Martin finished the stage in 18th, comfortably finishing fourth in the overall standings.

The rider said that the stage "was one of the hardest races I’ve ever done.”

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“With the cold and rain and savage pace all day it was just one stage too far for me. I emptied the tank and minimised our losses.

“We envisaged an attack on the podium but in the end the three guys in front were just better. I’m incredibly proud of what we have achieved these past three weeks. Israel Start-Up Nation signed me last year with the belief that I was capable of results like this and it’s amazing for me to pay back that belief."

Martin's overall performance, alongside his Stage 3 victory earlier on the tour, rounds off a terrific year for Irish cycling, coinciding with Sam Bennett's green jersey win in the Tour de France.

Bennett will have a chance to win the flat final run on Sunday in Madrid, with Deceuninck-Quick Step looking for their 100th stage win in a grand tour.

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Sean Meehan

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