Tour of Lombardy: Ireland's Daniel Martin wins one-day classic

Dan Martin
Dan Martin won a stage of the Tour de France in 2013

Ireland's Dan Martin claimed victory with an impressive sprint finish in the Tour of Lombardy one-day classic.

The Garmin-Sharp rider finished ahead of Spain's Alejandro Valverde and Portugal's Rui Costa.

Martin, 28, attacked with 450 metres to go and pulled away from the breakaway group to win by one second.

The Birmingham-born rider who won Liege-Bastogne-Liege in 2013, said: "I love the Tour of Lombardy and I'm proud to have it among my trophies."

Martin, who broke a collarbone after crashing on the opening stage of the three-week Giro d'Italia, which was held in Ireland, in May, added: "It's been a difficult year but this victory makes all my sacrifices worth it."

Monumental riders
Only three have won all five 'Monuments'
Belgian legend Eddy Merckx leads the way with 19 victories across the quintet of races between 1966 and 1976
Compatriots Roger De Vlaeminck (11 total wins from 1970 to 1979) and Rik Van Looy (eight victories from 1958 to 1965) have also achieved the feat.
Tom Simpson is the only British rider to win the Tour of Lombardy, in 1965.

He skipped the Tour de France but was seventh at last month's third and final Grand Tour of the year, the Vuelta a Espana.

The Lombardy one-day race is the final of the five prestigious 'Monuments' that are raced each year across Europe - the Milan-San Remo in Italy, Tour of Flanders and Liege-Bastogne-Liege in Belgium and Paris-Roubaix in France are the other four.

The 108th staging of the Classic race, known as the 'Race of the Falling Leaves' because it takes place in autumn, has suffered from some horrendous weather in recent years but this time the skies were clear.

Dutchman Pieter Weening and Belgium's Ben Hermans formed a two-man breakaway and built up a slender lead after navigating their way over the key climb of Berbenno.

But the duo were caught by the peloton five km from the finish as they made their way up the final climb of the Bergamo Alto.

A host of riders, including Belgium's Philippe Gilbert who was aiming for a third Lombardy win, launched attacks on the road into Bergamo but they were all powerless to resist Martin's late burst to the finish line.

Martin is the second Irish rider to win Lombardy, with Sean Kelly claiming three previous victories.

Race result:

1. Daniel Martin (Ire/Garmin) 6hrs 25mins 33secs

2. Alejandro Valverde (Spa/Movistar) +1 sec

3. Rui Costa (Por/Lampre) same time

4. Tim Wellens (Bel/Lotto)

5. Samuel Sanchez (Spa/BMC Racing)

6. Michael Albasini (Swi/Orica)

7. Philippe Gilbert (Bel/BMC Racing)

8. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa/Katusha)

9. Fabio Aru (Ita/Astana)

10. Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita/AG2R) +14 secs

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