UCI continue checks for mechanical doping at Tirreno-Adriatico
In a brief note included in the race communiqué after the stage, it was confirmed that 142 bikes were checked either at the start or finish of the stage to Pomerance. The note didn’t reveal the results of the controls but a UCI official told Cyclingnews that nothing was found.
Cyclingnews saw several officials at the finish of the stage as they looked for riders and bikes to check. With team buses parked down the hill, riders did not hang around for long and the UCI struggled to control more than a handful of bikes. However the UCI has reportedly examined over a thousand different bikes since a motor was first discovered at the cyclo-cross world championships.
Nibali tries to collect a time bonus
Vincenzo Nibali tried a late move to go across to Zdenek Stybar in the finale of the tough stage to Pomerance but was pulled back and finished sixth in the uphill sprint on stage 2, missing out on the time bonuses that could have lifted him up the overall classification.
Fortunately for Nibali, Alejandro Valverde and all his other overall rivals also missed out, leaving the virtual classification unchanged. Tejay van Garderen (BMC) remains the best placed, with 15 seconds on Nibali and 29 seconds on Valverde.
Nibali dived into a side road after the finish to ease the pain in his legs, stopped to pull on a warm jacket and then headed own to the Astana team bus parked three kilometres away. He only eased up briefly to speak to Cyclingnews.
“I saw that it was a finish that suited me so I decided to have a go,” he said. “I was thinking about the time bonuses but it was difficult to pull it off and get something, and Stybar proved to be too strong. It didn’t come off but was worth giving it a go.”
Sagan remains silent after yet another second place
Peter Sagan finished second yet again on stage 2 of Tirreno-Adriatico in Pomerance, and his run of placings seems to be getting to him.
He was beaten at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad by Greg van Avermaet and finished fourth at Strade Bianche. He beat the rest of the peloton on the uphill finish in Pomerance but was unable to catch Zdenek Stybar. Sagan won the world title with a spectacular solo attack on the last lap in Richmond but he has yet to win in the rainbow jersey.
Sagan dismissed questions about his lack of success so far this season in press conference and was keen to avoid talking after the finish in Pomerance. He stopped just after the finish, pulled on an extra layer but refused to talk to journalists and quickly headed down to the Tinkoff team bus.
BMC lose the leader's jersey but van Garderen remains well placed overall
After winning the opening team time trial the BMC team of race leader Daniel Oss spent the bulk of stage 2 of Tirreno-Adriatico working on the front of the peloton with two objectives in mind: to set up Greg Van Avermaet for the stage win and to keep Tejay van Garderen in the hunt for final overall victory.
Both men were duly in the front group that formed on the stiff climb of Il Cerreto in the finale but Van Avermaet was powerless to prevent Zdenek Stybar from clipping away to claim stage honours and the blue jersey. The Belgian placed seventh on the stage, in the chasing group that finished a second down on Stybar in Pomarance. Van Avermaet is now nine seconds behind Stybar in the overall standings, while Van Garderen is third, also at nine seconds, but still ahead of all his rivals.
“It was a hard finish, I think we were pretty good but Stybar went at the right moment,” Van Avermaet said. “There was a moment’s hesitation and nobody could ride anymore because nobody had enough guys left. Then [Vincenzo] Nibali attacked and we tried to close it for the sprint.”
“My shape was pretty good. I was up there and I was feeling pretty good on the climb, which is important. I feel good for the next days.”
Van Garderen finished safely in the same group as Van Avermaet and the overall favourites such as Nibali and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), which directeur sportif Max Sciandri felt was more important than keeping the blue jersey in the team for now.
“I wouldn’t say it was a hard stage, but it was tricky,” Sciandri said. “For us, we had two goals this morning. One was to have Greg up there for the sprint but the overall plan for BMC was not to lose any time with Tejay, and I think everything worked out pretty well. We lost the jersey, but you look to the final result in a stage race like this."