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Dan Martin slams 'chaotic' Vuelta a Espana finale

Ireland’s Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) has criticised the finale of stage 7 of the Vuelta a España, which featured a high number of mechanical incidents, crashes and punctures, as “just chaos".

The Irishman, who is not fighting for the overall title, was wrongly described as suffering a mechanical on one of the more difficult descents at the finish.

In fact, he lost four and a half minutes after trying to shepherd home the team’s sprinter, Simone Consonni.

"We’ve been riding on these beautiful roads all day and then the last 15 kilometres it’s just chaos," Martin fumed.

"Obviously it’s good for television but it’s not nice to ride on. I just hope that the guys who were affected by the crashes are ok and that the mechanicals didn’t affect the race too much."

Martin said that the final segment of climbing over a third category climb near the finish at Pozo Alcon, followed by a spectacular - but twisting and poorly surfaced - descent, had been the worst.

"It would have been nice if they’d swept the road, you know?” he said. "It’s was a really, really bad road surface, the number of mechanicals and problems you saw, crashes…"

Martin himself later said that he didn’t have any problems himself on the road, rather he was helping out team-mates when he had a reported mechanical.

"It was our sprinter, he went so deep to get over the climb there and we thought that was it, we thought it would be easy to the finish, especially with the headwinds, yeah, so I waited for him and obviously all hell broke loose, there was that steep climb we didn’t know about."

As for his own condition, Martin said he was not in the best of shape yet.

"I’ve got heavy legs at the moment, I’m not fully ‘back’ from the Tour yet, so it’s hard work, and I’m trying to do a good job for Fabio [Aru] hopefully in a psychological way as well as in the race.

"The team are riding really well here around Fabio, we’re a young team here and we’ve had a lot of different programs.

"Hopefully we can continue like that, and it’ll be a bit easier on Saturday" - theoretically a flat stage - "and we can have a go on Sunday."

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Alasdair Fotheringham

Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 bar one, as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. As well as working for Cyclingnews, he has also written for The IndependentThe GuardianProCycling, The Express and Reuters.