Dan Martin (Etixx-Quick Step) put up a great fight today on the final stage of Volta a Catalunya to regain his podium place at the race having led overall earlier in the week.
The 29-year-old rode strongly throughout the week-long race and notched up the team’s first podium in the Spanish race. He finished 17″ behind race winner Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and 7″ down on second-placed Alberto Contador (Tinkoff).
The Irish rider had worn the leader’s jersey for one day after taking a stage win at La Molina before dropping to fourth following the gruelling Port Ainé climb. However, he clawed back the seven seconds that were separating him from the podium by going for bonus seconds at the intermediate sprints on three consecutive days, including on today’s stage.
“This morning, the goal was to try and go for the first bonification sprint to get a few seconds and grab the third place,” Martin said. “The team did a great job with a perfect lead-out, but Thomas De Gendt anticipated us and I came third, taking only one second.”
“At that point we began focusing on the stage. This is a strange circuit, and to be honest, today I wanted to go for the sprint. The last laps were really complicated and hectic, with a lot of attacks of the GC guys.”
“There was also headwind in the final kilometres and it was difficult to make the difference. My plan was to attack on the last lap to get some more seconds, but Tejay van Garderen made his move earlier and I used the energy I had at that point to close the gap on him and save my third place. Considering everything, I must admit that I’m happy,” said Dan Martin.
The Irish rider, who so far this year has amassed 18 racing days in the Etixx – Quick-Step jersey, talked also of his schedule for the next weeks: “Now I will head to the Vuelta al Pais Vasco and stick to my original race plan in order to prepare the Ardennes Classics. Pais Vasco is an event I will discover again, considering I’m returning here for the first time since 2012, and we’ll see what the race will bring.”