As Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) was on his way to a solo victory in Il Lombardia, there were three riders fighting for two podium places behind, but Garmin-Sharp's Dan Martin lost his chance when he crashed in the final turn and conceded the third place battle to Saxo-Tinkoff's Rafal Majka.
His shorts torn and his bar tape spiraling off, Martin worked his way through the dense crowds of fans after the finish, and explained to Cyclingnews what happened off-camera in the final bend.
"Majka drifted his back wheel and I pedaled and my back wheel came around. We both slid, and he held it up but I didn't," Martin said.
The Irishman was in the leading group when Rodriguez launched his race-winning move on the steepest part of the Villa Vergano with 10km to go, but no rider was able to respond to the attack. Martin chased together with Majka and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) on the descent, but the trio came apart on the run-in, leaving Valverde to ride away solo for second place.
"[Rodriguez] was so strong on the climb," Martin said of the attack. "I was riding with Valverde on the downhill and Majka was sitting on us. I tried to make Majka go through and we lost the wheel of Valverde."
The pair came into the final meters together, but Martin's tumble in the last turn allowed Majka to ride away for third. Martin had to work to remount his chain and then re-accelerate to narrowly hold off Enrico Gasparotto (Astana) for fourth.
Still, the 2011 runner-up was pleased to finish so high up, considering he crashed out of the Vuelta and didn't have the same kind of build-up as the riders who finished around him.
"I'm super happy with what I did today," Martin said. "I haven't raced 240 kilometers since Liège-Bastogne-Liège. I was surprised how I rode and the team rode fantastic for me. I rode far and away better than I thought I would."
Martin will now head to the Tour of Beijing before finishing his 2013 season off at the Tour of Japan.
Laura Weislo has been with Cyclingnews since 2006 after making a switch from a career in science. As Deputy Editor, she coordinates coverage for North American events and global news. A swimmer in her younger days, Laura made the change to cycling later in life, but was immediately swept up by a huge passion for the sport. Riding for fitness quickly gave way to the competitive urge, and a decade of racing later she can look back on a number of high profile races and say with confidence, "I started". While her racing days are over for the most part, she continues to dabble in cyclo-cross and competing against fellow pathletes on the greenways of Raleigh, North Carolina.
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