After three consecutive days of Oscar Freire-mania, some of the lower placed riders on GC were allowed to ride for the victory in today's fifth stage of Tirreno-Adriatico. Held on a wet day over 12 laps of a 14.2 km circuit in Saltara, the stage saw five men go clear early on and hold off the peloton for the victory. Dutchman Servais Knaven (Quick.Step) was the best of the five, counter-attacking Marco Pinotti (Saunier Duval) with 10 km to go to win the stage solo.
"It is a super victory," said 34 year old Knaven at the finish. "Before the start I decided to try an attack. I got in a break with Pinotti, Le Mevel, Padrnos and Peron. At the last passage of the finish line, Pinotti attacked. I reached him a few meters from the GPM and I made at the most of my possibilities on the descent, immediately gaining around 15 seconds. I rode only thinking about earning seconds. This stage has reminded me the last kilometres of the Tour de France stage 2003 that I won in Bordeaux.
"Now my objective is improve to reach top condition for the races in April in Belgium. I will put my experience at the service of the team and if there is an occasion like what happened today, I'll try another time."