By Sean Moriarty.
Almost 50 years to the day that the first Irishman won a stage on the Tour de France, Birmingham-born Dan Martin became the fifth on Sunday.
Back in 1953 Shay Elliott took a stage victory at Roubaix to become the first Irishman to record a stage victory on the Tour and to wear the coveted overall leader’s Yellow Jersey.
Since then legends likes Sean Kelly, 1987 overall champion Stephen Roche and Martin Earley have all scored stage victories, with the last Irish success coming with Roche’s run to La Bourboule 1992.
Martin, the nephew of Roche and cousin of fellow pro-cyclist Nicolas Roche, is in the form of his life and came in to this year’s Tour on the back of victories on The Tour of Cataluyna and Liege-Bastogne-Liege, two of the recognised preparatory races for the Grand Tour.
Last week’s World of Cycling predicated that the Garmin Sharp team rider would win a mountain stage and that he would be in contention for a top ten finish when the race arrives in Paris on July 21. Sunday’s victory sets him up to at least match his own pre-race predication.
For more see this week’s edition of the Irish World