January 3, 2010
It’s been a great year for Irish cycling. There are three up and coming professionals at top teams who are getting stronger every year. Nicolas Roche at AG2R La Mondiale, Philip Deignan at Cervélo and Dan Martin at Garmin-Transitions can all look forward to racing in 2010 knowing that they’ve all played a part in the best year for Irish cycling professionals since the days of Sean Kelly, Stephen Roche and Martin Earley.
There was an Irish rider in all three Grand Tours for the first time since 1987. Deignan completed both the Giro and Vuelta finishing a fantastic 9th in the latter taking a memorable stage win along the way. Roche was Ireland’s sole representative at the Tour de France finishing 2nd on one stage and taking a handful of other top 10 placings, he also finished 5th in the young rider competition. Dan Martin was unfortunate at times last year with illness, as such he was unable to make his Tour de France début. He did however make his Grand Tour bow at the Vuelta as a domestique for Tom Danielson. Martin also showed he is more than capable in one day races managing an 8th place in the Tour of Lombardy, Ireland’s first top 10 placing in a monument classic since Sean Kelly won Milan San Remo 18 years ago. Martin also finished 5th in the one day Pro Tour race the GP Ouest-France. In addition to his good performances in one day races and the Vuelta, Martin hinted at his potential in one week stage races in the Volta a Catalunya where he put on a great performance to finish 2nd behind Alejandro Valverde.
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