Dan Martin finished 16th in a punishing 234-kilometre Men’s Road Race at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics today. His Ireland teammates Nicolas Roche and Eddie Dunbar finishing 75th and 76th respectively, with both playing their part in animating the race and delivering a top 20 result for Team Ireland.
With 4,865 metres of climbing over a distance of 234 kilometres, the course was considered one of the toughest in Olympic history. The searing temperatures and over six hours in the saddle combined to whittle down the peloton with 82 of the 130 riders finishing the race.
24-year-old Cork man, Eddie Dunbar made an attack inside the final 50 kilometres. Dunbar was joined by Remco Evenepoel and Vincenzo Nibali but other nations recognised the danger and acted quickly to close the gap. The decisive move was made on the Mikuni Pass when one of the pre-race favourites, Tadej Pogačar (Slovenia) blew the peloton apart on the steep climb. The move saw Eddie Dunbar distanced while Dan Martin remained in contention until a kilometre before the summit. Dan Martin crested Mikuni Pass in a chase group and battled on for a very respectable top 20 finish. Richard Carapaz (Ecuador) won gold with Wout van Aert claiming silver ahead of Tadej Pogačar in a photo finish.
Dan Martin’s reaction
Speaking afterwards today’s road race Dan Martin said:
“We came here with the idea of getting a medal and honestly, it’s been my best experience in an Irish team since I’ve been racing for Ireland. We had the best preparation possible; the staff have been amazing, and we really worked together. It was a great team performance and yeah, unfortunately I just didn’t have the legs when it mattered on the climb. It was super-hot there and I just missed a couple of seconds to be in that front selection that was fighting for the medals.”
The Irish cyclist continued:
“We did a perfect race today in my opinion. I wouldn’t change anything that we did today. That’s a really nice feeling coming out of an Olympic road race knowing that we all did our best. Nico did a great job of keeping me positioned and safe the whole way along and we had staff the whole way along giving us bottles. It really was a great team effort. I want to say thank you to everyone and just unfortunately we couldn’t come away with a medal this time but yeah it’s really promising for the future, how we’re developing as a team. It was really good to race with Eddie as well. I think he’s the future of Irish cycling, so it’s been good to share mine and Nico’s experience with him this week. The future’s bright and we can all look forward towards Paris now and try and improve our performance still.”
Irish equestrian athletes across all disciplines will wear a yellow ribbon during competition in commemoration of the loss of a highly talented young Irish athlete who tragically suffered a fatal incident in June.
Tiggy Hancock (15) was known across all equestrian disciplines and was a respected member of the Irish Pony High-Performance Eventing Programme. At the young age of 15, Tiggy had already made a mark on the sport and was one to watch whenever she competed, against both senior and youth athletes.
Ellen Walshe was Team Ireland’s first swimmer in action at the Tokyo Aquatic Centre and she put in an impressive performance to win her Women’s 100m Butterfly heat. Her time of 59.35 seconds was just 0.03 seconds outside of her own Irish Senior Record set in June 2021. Walshe finished in 24th position overall, with the top 16 progressing to the semi-finals.
“It was a strong first swim for me, it’s just slightly off my PB.” Walshe said. “It would have been nice to get another Irish Senior Record but it wasn’t there, I felt strong, but you win some you lose some – I’m happy enough with the swim.”
Walshe is back in action on Monday (Day 3 – July 26th) in the Women’s 200m Individual Medley.
Men’s Road Race: 16th Dan Martin (6:00:04), 75th Nicolas Roche (6:21:46), 76th Eddie Dunbar (6:21:46).
Women’s 100m Butterfly Heat: Ellen Walshe, 1st in heat, 24th overall with a time of 59.35.