Disastrous heavy fall for Martin may end Giro hopes on opening day
The Giro d’Italia got off to the worst possible start for Dan Martin when he fell on the opening time trial in Belfast and his tour now looks in grave doubt.
The 27 year-old had high hopes ahead of the tour and spoke of the emotional launch of the three days cycling in Ireland yesterday, but the dream quickly turned into a nightmare for Martin and the Garmin-Sharp team.
Just fifteen minutes into the time-trial, Martin appeared to slip on a manhole, bringing down three team-mates as he was left clutching his shoulder in agony.
Martin, who has made this race the focus of his season, made little attempt to get back up as he held his collar bone and waited for medical attention.
Garmin-Sharp manager Jonathan Vaughters reacted to the crash immediately on Twitter.
"So sad. Nothing to be done. Professional bike racing is cruel," he wrote.
Martin's uncle, 1987 Giro winner Stephen Roche, was also on Twitter moments after the crash.
"Absolutely gutted Dan @DanMartin86" he wrote.
Martin, a stage winner on last year's Tour de France, was considered one of the contenders at the start of the race, but the crash left his team's plans in ruins.
Three other riders fell with Martin, while the remaining five - including 2012 Giro winner Ryder Hesjedal - limped on to the finish but crossed the line in a time more than four minutes down on the lead time, set by Orica GreenEdge at 24 minutes 42 seconds.