The cycling blog no-one asked for.

Hiberno-watch April 2019: Bennett just keeps on winning stages

KONM IS AN IRISH BLOG ABOUT CYCLING. THERE ARE SOME IRISH CYCLISTS DOING QUITE WELL ON THE WORLD TOUR AND BEYOND. IT MAKES A BIT OF SENSE FOR KONM TO WRITE ABOUT HOW THEY’RE GETTING ON.

First things first: KONM knows this isn’t an original idea. It’s a niche that irishpeloton.com occupied in the past (thank you for your service) and which you can still find covered well on stickybottle.com, but KONM has decided to branch out in that direction nevertheless.

So, welcome to Hiberno-watch, KONM’s imaginatively titled monthly roundup of Irish riders’ pro performances. It probably doesn’t need much further explanation than that.

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Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe)

It might be hyperbole to describe Sam Bennett as one of the world’s best sprinters, but hey, we’ve only gone and done it. He just keeps winning stages – so far this year, he’s got six of the bloody things from races on three different continents.

In April, he took two at the Tour of Turkey, where he also won the points jersey (as he did in 2018). This followed an equally successful March, during which month he took two stages at Paris-Nice and would have taken the points classification but for a DNF on stage 7. It’s a real pity he’s not going to the Giro.

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Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates)

It was a month of two halves for Dan, with an impressive first half followed by an illness-affected second half comprised of two DNFs in Belgium at the Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

Martin was on form at the Itzulia Basque Country, peaking late in the six-stage race to take 2nd overall behind local rider Ion Izagirre. He finished in GC ahead of the likes of Manny Buchmann, Adam Yates, Mikel Landa, Enric Mas and Jakob Fuglsang, jumping two places on the final stage with a great effort on the circuit around Eibar.

Sickness laid him low for his spell in the Ardennes. We may not see him racing again in anger until the Tour.

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Ryan Mullen (Trek-Segafredo)

April was the conclusion of a busy Classics season for Mullen and saw him race at Dwars door Vlaanderen and Scheldeprijs in the buildup to Paris-Roubaix. This year, he rode many of the major Classics including Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne in addition to the aforementioned three.

His highest finish in April was 48th in Scheldeprijs, but he’ll have been delighted to get through Paris-Roubaix without any damage.

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Nico Roche (Sunweb)

Roche won’t remember April 2019 with too much fondness, having crashed out of the Itzulia Basque Country in nasty circumstances. The Sunweb veteran fell on a descent in wet conditions and was thrown through some barbed wire, thankfully avoiding serious injury.

He registered a DNF at the Amstel Gold Race but fought well with his team-mates to keep Michael Matthews near the head of the field at the Flèche a few days later. He’ll have better months.

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Eddie Dunbar (Team Sky/Ineos)

KONM is writing this on May 7th, which comes after Dunbar’s exploits at the Tour de Yorkshire, so there’s that to look forward to in next month’s Hiberno-watch.

April, however, was largely about recovery and fitness for Eddie, who suffered a shoulder injury in February that kept him out until late March. We know now he’s going to the Giro, so watch this space. May could be a big month for the young Corkman.

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Conor Dunne (Israel Cycling Academy)

April was a quiet month for Dunne (on the cycling front at least; his partner gave birth as May arrived), who we haven’t seen in a race since the Limburg Classic on the 6th.

He’ll be at the Giro in a couple of days, though. KONM can’t wait to see how he goes; we’d love to see him in a few breakaways over the coming weeks in Italy.

Stephen Clancy (Team Novo Nordisk)

April saw Stephen DNF at the GP Miguel Indurain and De Brabantse Pijl for TNN, with whom he has been a pro for seven years now.

Other notable results

Rory Townsend (Canyon dhb) finished 3rd at the Rutland-Melton Cicle Classic, having also managed to get on the podium at the Classic Loire Atlantique at the end of March.

Featured photo: FrenchKheldar/Flickr, edited by KONM

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