sport

Heartbreak for Martin

Dan Martin's Giro d'Italia dreams were ended on the opening stage in Belfast as he suffered a serious crash.

The Irishman appeared to slip on a drain in wet conditions during the team time trial, causing several of his Garmin-Sharp team-mates to hit the ground around him.

Martin, who has made this race the focus of his season, made little attempt to get back up as he held his collar bone and waited for medical attention.

Garmin-Sharp manager Jonathan Vaughters reacted to the crash immediately on Twitter.

"So sad. Nothing to be done. Professional bike racing is cruel," he wrote.

Martin's cousin, Tinkoff-Saxo rider Stephen Roche, was also on Twitter moments after the crash.

"Absolutely gutted Dan @DanMartin86" he wrote.

Martin, a stage winner on last year's Tour de France and nephew of 1987 Giro winner Stephen Roche, was considered one of the contenders at the start of the race, but the crash left his team's plans in ruins.

Three other riders fell with Martin, while the remaining five - including 2012 Giro winner Ryder Hesjedal - limped on to the finish but crossed the line in a time more than four minutes down on the lead time, set by Orica GreenEdge at 24 minutes 42 seconds.