Martin sprints to victory
Ireland's Dan Martin showed he is in peak condition ahead of this weekend's national road-race championships in Emyvale with victory in the prestigious Giro di Toscana one-day race in Italy yesterday.
Martin, a cousin of Ag2r professional Nicolas Roche, went clear with Italians Mauro Santambrogio (BMC), Allesandro Bertolini and Emanuele Sella of Androni Giacottoli, Domenico Pozzavivo (Colnago CSF) and Colombian Rubiano Chavez of d'Angelo & Antenucci on the last of six climbs on the 200km race.
Although better known as a climber, 24-year-old Martin outsprinted that six-man group.
He showed a turn of speed -- that has also seen him take top-five results in recent bunch gallops -- when he out-kicked Santambrogio and Chavez to claim his eighth professional victory.
Martin's win, along with strong rides at the Criterium du Dauphine and other races, has helped him stake a strong claim for a place on the Garmin Cervelo team for this year's 21-stage Tour de France, which begins in two weeks' time.
The former Irish champion was due to start the Tour in 2009, but was forced to withdraw from the line-up with a knee injury just one day before the start in Monaco.