Martin follows in Kelly’s tyre tracks with triumph in Volta à Catalunya

Team Garmin rider Dan Martin yesterday became only the second Irishman to win the Volta à Catalunya after holding off the challenge of Joaquim Rodríguez in the final stage to win by 17 seconds.

Belgium’s Thomas de Gendt of Vacansoleil won the final stage – eight laps around the Alt de Montjuic in Barcelona – with Team Sky’s David Lopez finishing second.

De Gendt outsprinted Lopez, Robert Kiserlovski and Michele Scarponi to claim the final stage, with the Italian’s efforts yesterday seeing him finish third, 34 seconds behind Martin.

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Nairo Quintana came fourth 45 seconds off he pace, while Tour de France winner Sir Bradley Wiggins finished fifth, 54 seconds behind Martin.

Rodriguez made his move for the title on the final ascent of Montjuic, but the Irishman was more than a match for the Spaniard and followed suit finishing alongside him in the second group.

Sean Kelly won the event in 1984 and 1986.

On Saturday, Martin had extended his overall lead to 14 seconds following the fifth stage. Martin caught out his major rivals, including Tour de France champion Wiggins, in a sprint finish that splintered the riders.

Canada’s Francois Parisien claimed the stage win, but Martin’s ninth placing ensured he increased the gap over closest challenger Rodriguez by four seconds.

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Wiggins and Nairo Quintana were nine seconds off the pace, after they had opted to stay out of trouble at the end only to see Martin take his chances to increase his lead.

Parisien won the 156km stage, from Rialp to Lleida, after he sprinted past Stephane Poulhies in the final 75m.

Sheffield based racing cyclist Ashley Proctor secured victory in the prestigious BBM Revolution Road Race staged at Pollington, East Yorkshire, yesterday.

Riding for the Bike Box Alan/Whiston Velo team, Proctor outsprinted team-mate Connor Smith and Matthew Bulmer (Dirtwheels Cycles) to win the nine-lap race.

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The leading trio were the survivors of a 12-strong group that came together from two separate moves on the opening lap out of a starting field of 49.

By lap three the front group had been reduced to seven riders in the windy but dry conditions, and the selection process continued over the next three laps as the leaders came down to five with an advantage of 1:56 over the rest.

Two more had dropped away by lap eight when a group of 16 chasers had formed with a gap of 1:08, and the three remaining leaders stayed comfortably clear with Proctor prevailing in the surge for the line and Julian Gromett (Squadra RT) taking the bunch sprint for fourth place.

In Middlesbrough, another Yorkshire rider was tasting victory, in the fourth round of the Highfield Kitchens Spring Cup on Saturday afternoon.

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Harry Tanfield, an 18-year-old from Great Ayton, took the win for the Herbalife-Leisure Lakes team, holding off Velo 29 rivals James Alder and Matt Kipling for the win.

In the supporting race for third and fourth category riders, Ilkley CC’s Ben Halliworth took the win ahead of Grant Worrall (Achieve-Skinnergate Racing).

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