Nicolas Roche dropped to fourth overall at the Vuelta A Espana yesterday, 24 hours after fellow Irishman Dan Martin crashed out.
Martin started Saturday third overall and was very much within striking distance of the race lead.
The Garmin Cannondale man came down hard with around 50km of the stage remaining and was unable to continue, his withdrawal temporarily pushing Roche up to third.
The latter slipped one place yesterday following a brutally hard 168km journey from Torrevieja to the summit finish at Cumbre del Sol Benitachell.
Roche was eighth across the line, 31 seconds behind stage winner and new race leader Tom Dumoulin (Giant Alpecin). The lanky Dutchman is having a fabulous battle with the man he replaced at the top of the General Classification, Esteban Chaves (Orica GreenEDGE), and the Colombian is now third after conceding 59 seconds yesterday.
Roche’s teammate Chris Froome bounced back from a bad day on Saturday to leap up the standings and his second place on the stage saw him climb to eighth overall.
It’s shaping up to be a cracking final two weeks with eight teams in the top 10, all separated by less than two minutes.
Today’s stage takes the riders 146km from Valencia to Borja with two categorised climbs along the route.
Meanwhile, Mark Reilly was crowned winner of the Bogman 2-Day in Mayo yesterday, the Fitscience man winning by three seconds overall from Eoghan Clifford (Galway Bay CC).
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