By Damian Dolan
Twenty-four years after Sean Kelly, Dan Martin became only the second Irishman to win cycling’s oldest classic, the Liège-Bastogne-Liège, on Sunday.
The 26-year-old Birmingham-born cyclist, who is the nephew of former Tour de France champion Stephen Roche, won the 99th edition of the race in six hours, 38 minutes and seven seconds, ahead of Spanish duo Joaquim Rodriguez in second and Alejandro Valverde in third.
Riding for team Garmin-Sharp, Martin attacked just before the final bend to come through and finish three seconds ahead of Rodriguez. It was his first-ever classic victory, and the biggest win of his career.
“I can’t believe it, I’m really in shock,” said Martin. “I’ve never seen the team ride so strong – they kept me protected all day. It felt like one of the easiest races I’ve ever done. It really is incredible, I’m so happy.”