Dan Martin wins Giro d'Italia stage to complete full set of Grand Tour victories

The Irish rider has previously won stages at the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia
Dan Martin wins Giro d'Italia stage to complete full set of Grand Tour victories

Ireland's Dan Martin celebrates after winning the 17th stage of the Giro d'Italia, from Canazei to Sega Di Ala. (Massimo Paolone/LaPresse via AP)

Dan Martin has written his name into the history books by becoming just the third Irish rider to win stages of all three Grand Tours after a gutsy stage 17 win at the Giro d’Italia.

The 34-year old may be edging towards the end of his glittering career but he showed he is still a match for anyone in the sport with a truly brilliant solo victory atop the summit finish at Sega di Ala.

He was in every breakaway from the drop of the flag, thanks in no small part to his teammates who made sure their star man was given every opportunity to chase a first stage win for the Istrael-Start Up Nation team.

And when Martin eventually escaped up the road with a group of almost two dozen riders, he was never seen again before the finish as his breakaway companions dropped off one after another.

Joao Almeida of Deceuninck-QuickStep was second across the line just 13 seconds behind Martin, as Simon Yates of BikeExchange threw the race for the General Classification right open by dropping race leader Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) and pinching almost a minute back.

“I think the shake of the head at the end there said I couldn’t quite believe it was happening,” an emotional Martin said afterwards.

“That’s what I came here for, to try to win a stage and I knew today was one of the last opportunities. With the time I lost it was possible to go in the breakaway and to do it was incredible.

“I didn’t know I had won it until I was at 100 metres to go.

“I came here with [sports director] Claudio Cozzi after the Tour of the Alps for a recon and it was very important. I could see right away it was a climb that suited me and that it was a climb you could race on, very hard, but not such a steep climb that it’s almost impossible to get a gap.

“I also knew there was a really hard section with about four kilometres to go and that I couldn’t risk going into the red zone there, but then the last 2.5 kilometres were much easier and gave you a chance to recover.”

Not even the greats of Irish cycling Sean Kelly and Stephen Roche have won stages in each of the three Grand Tours, those being the Giro, the Vuelta a Espana, and the Tour de France.

Martin has now notched a superb five Grand Tour stage wins having won Tour stages in 2013 and 2018, Vuelta stages in 2011 and last year, and now arguably his most pleasing of all, a Giro stage win.

The race continues on Thursday with a 231-kilometre stage which should again suit a breakaway, before two back-to-back mountain stages and a flat time-trial conclude this year’s contest.

Bernal leads the race by 2:21 from Italian Damiano Caruso in second and Yates in third a further 1:02 back.

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