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“He won it really intelligently and tactically he played it perfectly,” Kelly told. "At the perfect moment when there was a little bit of a slow down he gave it everything and in the end he won it comfortably.”

Photo: Sirotti






06.10.2014 @ 16:06 Posted by Aleksandra Górska

One of the most versatile and tactically astute rider of his times, Sean Kelly, was full of praise for the way Daniel Martin played Sunday’s Il Lombardia finale and emphasized, that doing this his countryman managed to turn a disastrous season into a victorious one, claiming his career’s second monument.


Martin timed his attack just perfectly inside the final two kilometers into Bergamo, following wheels of race favorites and picking a moment when a pace in the leaders group dropped slightly to launch his decisive attack. An anticipated hesitation in the eight-man group, in which one of the most cunning riders of the professional peloton – Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) or Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEDGE) teamed up – was enough for the 28-year old Irishman.


This time Garmin-Sharp rider avoided to crash in a final turn, what was a case in last year’s edition of “the race of the falling leaves” as well as this season’s Liege-Bastogne-Liege, what provided him with a well-deserved victory in his career’s second monument.   


“He won it really intelligently and tactically he played it perfectly,” Kelly told Cyclingnews.


“He just followed and followed and was there with the top guys in the end. At the perfect moment when there was a little bit of a slow down he gave it everything and in the end he won it comfortably.”


Kelly, who famously became a winner of all monument classics in his career, achieved it mainly thanks to his renowned tactical astuteness. Observing a development of his 28-year old countryman’s career, he acknowledges many similarities in their style of racing.


“He’s able to read a race but he’s also able to carry out the tactics needed and that’s the difficult part. At the end of a big Classic it’s easy to say what you need to do when you’re sitting down the night before in your team briefing but when you’re in that position at the end of the race there aren’t many guys who can keep their cool, and that’s what he’s got. He can see the moment and then seize it. Some riders don’t have that ability and will never have it," Kelly said.


“When you look at the year, it had been a disastrous one with bad luck, with the Liège and Giro crashes. He crashed in the Vuelta too and then again at Worlds but after all that bad luck, to get that win in the final Classic of the year, it turns the season into a great one.”


Kelly believes that Martin is able to develop as both classics specialist and Grand Tour contender in the future. The Garmin-Sharp rider emphasized on many occasions, however, that while he is absolutely fond of racing in the classics, three-week events might not be his cup of team due to their tactical complexity.


“I think he can do both stage races and one days. Definitely. The type of Classics he targets like Lombardia, Liège, Amstel, and maybe Flèche, are all winnable. And I can see him mixing those targets with GC at a grand tour. I think the difficulty could be in races like Milan San-Remo, where sprinters are in the hunt for the win. That gives you an idea of the race style, and it’s not maybe for Dan because Lombardia and Liège give you more of a selection process.”



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