DAN Martin was “devastated” after falling at the final corner of the Liege-Bastogne-Liegeon Sunday and failing to defend his 2013 title in Belgium.
The 27-year-old Garmin Sharp rider was in second place and closing with only 200 metres remaining before his rear wheel slid on the bend, leaving Australia’s Simon Gerrans to take the 100th edition of the 263-km race.
“It’s one thing to make a mistake or know what you’ve done but we figure that there’s a patch of oil or something. I think I had tears in my eyes before I even hit the floor,” Martin said after the race.
“There aren’t really words for it. To race for seven hours and for that to happen on the last corner. It's poetry."
Simon Gerrans – who won the Milan-San Remo two years ago – took victory ahead of last Wednesday’s Fleche-Wallone winner Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Polish champion Michal Kwiatkowski of Omega Pharma Quickstep.
"I don't know what was going on behind and I don't know how close they were but all I know is that I was feeling good and pretty relaxed," he added.
"I was 200 metres from the finish and the podium was definitely on the cards. Maybe Gerrans would have caught me but there's no way of knowing. That's cycling.”
The Irishman looked certain to repeat his Liege victory of 2013 before making contact first with Domenico Pozzovivo of Ag2r and then riding up to the back wheel of Katusha's Giampaolo Caruso on the last corner.
At the WorldTour classic at Fleche-Wallone in Belgium last week, Martin finished on the podium after a strong performance, but missed out on victory coming second.
He will be competing in the Giro d'Italia, which begins in Belfast on May 9.