Vuelta a Espana: Tearful Martin dedicates stage success to team and wife

Getty Images

Dan Martin won an uphill charge to the finish line as he took a "really special" stage three victory in the Vuelta a Espana.

The Irish rider, competing for Israel Start-Up Nation, fended off Primoz Roglic and Richard Carapaz after a tight finish in the town of Vinuesa, dedicating the success to his team and family.

A five-rider break with just under 50 kilometres to go always looked unconvincing, and although the gap reached a minute and a half at one point, it had been trimmed significantly by the time the final climb arrived.

The 166.1-kilometre drag from Lodosa to La Laguna Negra – the Black Lagoon – had been building towards the final 8.6km ascent, and Martin had the legs to hold off his rivals in a sprint over the final 500 metres.

Martin told Spanish broadcaster TDP: "I've come so close this year to winning and I just wanted to win a stage for this team because they've been so good to me."

He praised the support he and team-mates had received amid the COVID-19 crisis, saying: "There were no salary cuts or anything like that and the team was really motivated for the whole of lockdown because of that to train harder."

Martin competed at the Tour de France, but fracturing a bone at the base of his spine just weeks before that race hindered his competitiveness.

Married to British athlete Jess Martin, with whom he had twin daughters two years ago, the latest Vuelta stage winner dedicated the success to his family.

Tearfully, he said: "It's part for me and part for my wife as well, because it's the first time I've won a race since my kids were born and it's really special."

Martin sits second in the General Classification, with Roglic remaining the overall race leader by five seconds.


STAGE RESULT

1. Dan Martin (Israel State-Up Nation) 4:27:49
2. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 
3. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers)
4. Wouter Poels (Bahrain-McLaren) +0:04
5. Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana Pro) +0:07

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS 

General Classification  

1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 12:37:24
2. Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) +0:05
3. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) +0:13

Points Classification  

1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 65
2. Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) 57
3. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) 50

King of the Mountains

1. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) 18
2. Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) 16
3. Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) 14

WHAT'S NEXT?

Friday's stage four sees the riders head off from Garray for the 191.7km journey to Ejea de los Caballeros. With next to no climbing, expect a congested sprint for the finish line.


>