Results LiÃ¨ge - Bastogne -Â LiÃ¨ge
UCI WorldTour rankings
Dan Martin confirmed his huge talent and completed a perfect tactical performance for his GarminâSharp team by winning Liege-Bastogne-Liege, the oldest and arguably the toughest one-day Classic on the UCI WorldTour calendar.
The 26 year-old Irishman beat 2012 UCI WorldTour winner Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) after going across to the Spaniard on the climb to the finish. He then attacked just before the final corner to win with his arms in the air almost unable to believe he had won one of the biggest races in professional cycling.
Rodriguez finished three seconds behind Martin, with fellow Spaniard Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) winning the sprint for third place, nine seconds behind.
Thanks to his victory, Martin moved up to third in the individual rankings of the UCI WorldTour with a total of 247 points. He scored 100 points for his victory at Liege-Bastogne-Liege. He had also scored 100 points for winning the Volta a Catalunya in March and 40 points for taking fourth place in the Fleche-Wallonne race.
Fabian Cancellara still leads the individual ranking after his success in the cobbled Classics and his victories at the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. Peter Sagan (Cannondale Pro Cycling) is third with 312 points.
Team Sky leads the team rankings with 618 points despite a poor result in Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Katusha is second with 578 points and Radioshack-Leopard is third with 466 points. The Garmin-Sharp team moved up from ninth to sixth thanks to Martin's win and Ryder Hesjedal's eighth place in the race.
Spain continues to lead the nations ranking with 686 points. Colombia is second with 491 points, reaffirming its place amongst the best cycling nations in the world. Despite failing to win any major classics so far this season, Belgium is third with 408 points.
Martin: "I can't believe it, I'm really in shock"
Dan Martin shook his head in disbelief when he crossed the finish line. He is a climbing specialist but also has the ability and aggression to win the toughest hilly classics.
"I can't believe it, I'm really in shock," Martin said, happy to share his victory with his teammates.
"I've never seen the team ride so strong - they kept me protected all day. It felt like one of the easiest races I've ever did. It really is incredible, I'm so happy."
Ryder Hesjedal played a fundamental role in Martin's victory. The 2012 Giro d'Italia winner attacked alone with 15km to go and gave it his all to stay clear over the decisive and very tough Saint-Nicolas climb.
A group of riders came across to him, including Martin, but Hesjedal continued to give his all, making sure that the group stayed away. When Rodriguez attacked with a kilometre to go on the climb up to the finish, Martin waited a little and then surged across to him. He then caught his breath and made his decisive attack to ensure he won alone.
"We had Ryder and me in the final, and no one seemed to watch us," Martin explained.
"I hesitated a bit, but I saw they had nothing left. A sprint after 250km is not like a normal one, so I didnât want to leave it to a group sprint. When I saw RodrÃguez attack, I knew had to go. I thought I left it a bit late, but I was able to catch him. I didnât want to leave it as a sprint, so I was happy.â
Time for the Tour de Romandie
Many of the riders who competed in Belgium at Liege-Bastogne-Liege head now to Switzerland for the Tour de Romandie stage race that begins on Tuesday in Le ChÃ¢ble, south of Lake Geneva.
The six-day race ends on Sunday with an 18km individual time trial in Geneva. The UCI WorldTour riders face a total of 762km of racing with four days in the hills and mountains of western Switzerland.
Saturday's 188.5km fifth stage is from Marly - Les Diablerets and includes the spectacular Col de la Croix. 2012 winner Bradley Wiggins will not be action as he prepares for the Giro d'Italia. Chris Froome and Richie Porte lead the British team this time.
Also in action is sprinter Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), his teammate and world time trial champion Tony Martin, Roman Kreuziger (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff), Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge), Hesjedal and Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) and Ivan Basso (Cannondale Pro Cycling).
The overall winner will score 100 points in the UCI WorldTour rankings, with the latest rankings published soon after the race.