The Queen Stage in Tirreno-Adriatico! It may be time for the big guns to show what they have.....
We have an all-Orica-GreenEdge break group today! Mathew Hayman and Luke Durbridge took off early and haven’t looked back yet. They got up to a eight and a half gap,now after 100 km it is about six minutes.
Greg Van Avermaet took the win yesterday and also claimed the race lead. Here is our top ten GC coming into today's stage:
1 Greg Van Averemaet (BMC) 8:34:31
2 Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) 0:02
3 Adriano Malori (Movistar) 0:08
4 Fabian Cancellara (Trek) 0:09
5 Matthias Brändle (IAM9 0:10
6 Ramunas Navardauskas (Cannondale-Garmin) 0:13
7 Stephen Cummings (MTN-Qhubeka) 0:14
8 Jonathan Castraviego (Movistar) 0:16
9 Edvald Boasson Hagen (MTN-Qhubeka) 0:16
10 Andriy Grivko (Astana) 0:17
Things started out today with a rather easy climb coming at km 13.4. It has an average gradient of only 3.3%. Hayman and Durbridge got away, and we can reasonably expect them to stay away for many of the next 125 or so flattish kilometers.
Van Aermaet seems determined to hold onto his lead here. He has picked up one second at the intermediate sprint.
Looking at the further course, at km 138, reality rears it head in the shape of the Poggio San Romualdo, 10.8 km long with an average gradientof 6.4%, and maximum of 11%.
90km remaining from 218km
With 90n km to go, the gap is up to 7:12. But the two are now on the approach to the Poggio - how will they fare there?
After Poggio, the course is all up and down, and the finale won’t be an easy one. The stage ends with two laps of a difficult circuit course, which includes two trips up the Crispiero – 3.1km long, average gradient of 9.3% and a max of 15% near the top. This climb comes with 18.8 and 6 kms until the end.
Nathan Haas (Cannondale-Garmin) has gotten tire of the situation and set off in chase of the two leaders.
81km remaining from 218km
Durbridge and Hayman now have 5:58 on Haas, with the peloton at 6:58.
In the points competition, we have Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) ahead of Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) and Jens Debusschere (Lotto).
Coming into today’s stage, Danilo Wyss (BMC) leads the mountain ranking, followed by Carlos Quintero (Colombia) and Patrick Konrad (Bora-Argon18). We expect a change in this ranking today....
Our two leaders have crossed over the Poggio, followed by Haas, then Quintero, Pedraza, Rubiano and Quinziato.
Sagan is also best young rider, ahead of Jesus Herrada (Movistar) and Thibaut Pinot (FdJ).
Hayman has now left Durbridge behind him, and has a gap of 20 seconds. Hass has been joined by Quintero and they are at 4:40. The field is at 5:41.
A Bardiani rider has crashed. Contador has a mechanical, which may be related to that crash. And apparently both Durbridge and Hayman crashed at some point, as well.
With 56km to go, the two leaders have 6:08. Contador is back in the peloton.
55km to go and about 6 minutes gap.
Did you catch Van Avermaet storming his way to victory yesterday? If not, you can watch our video highlights of the stage here.
We apologise for our technical difficulties here.
Fabian Cancellara (Trek) had his eye on that uphill sprint finish yesterday, seeing it as similar to his beloved Classics. He gave it his “best shot” but was able to only finish fifth.
5.25 for the group. Speaking of Cancellara, he just punctured, and managed to get a little stretching and yoga in while waiting for the change.
BMC is leading the chase and the speed has picked up significantly. Cancellara is back in the field, now.
It is a beautiful sunny day. But we did see snow along side the road on the Poggio.
4:49 now, and BMC has the field flying along in a long line.
They are on a flat section at the moment.
Van Avermaet has not had an easy time of it lately, with doping rumours and an upcoming hearing on the matter. But he has given his answer on the bike, winning yesterday’s stage and taking over the race lead.
Durbridge seems to be tiring.
35 km and about 4 minutes.
It won't be long until they enter the circuit course and take on the Crispiero climb -- twice!
The gap is now under four minutes, with 32 km to go.
Durbridge has cracked. Hayman now alone in front.
Some of the other teams are moving up to help BMC with the chase.
Peter Sagan is still looking for a win – actually, his last one was the Slovakian national title last June – and in the meantime has built up a world-class collection of second place finishes. Was he upset by yesterday’s finish, where he was once agian second? Not terribly, but yes, first would be much better.
So the question is actually, which all be more difficult, the two ascents of the Crispiero, or the descents?
@VeloVoices Sat, 14th Mar 2015 14:29:12
Puccio (Sky) has punctured and dropped his chain as well.
And now a rear wheel puncture for Sky's Kyrienka.
Hayman heads up the Crispiero for the first time, and has only 1:50 on the peloton.
21km remaining from 218km
A number of riders are already being dropped. Trek now leading the field.
Only a minute now for Hayman, who looks to be riding in slow motion.
AT this rate he will caught before he reaches the top.
Attacks are starting out of the field but no one successful yet.
Visconte, Scarponi and Arredondo now form a trio ahead of the field.
More and more riders suffering at the back.
Contador still has Basso and Kreuziger with him.
Visconti is really riding hard. Hayman has been caught, by the way.
Visconti takes the five points atop the climb and they now start their way down.
Nibali still has Westra with him. Van Avermaet said to be in trouble.
This short but vicious climb has cut down the field, and they still have to do it again! Meanwhile, Dani Moreno has joined the three leaders.
Only 10 seconds for the leaders. Sagan is also in the chasing group.
And they are caught with 10.5 km to go.
AG2R moves to the front -- riding for Pozzovivo.
The french team determinedly in front.
More riders being dropped, and we aren't even on the last climb.
Contador on Quintana's rear wheel.
Van Avermaet is still in the group, but not looking real good.
AG2R is working hard as the road kicks up again.
That was it for Van AVermaet.....
He is already 17 seconds back.
33 seconds now for the blue jersey, we can expect a new leader this evening.
Pozzovivo moves up -- ready for an attack?
But the first to go is Caruso of Katusha.
Poels of Sky jumps from the field and passes both Pozzovivo and Caruso. Van Avermaet over a minute down.
Poels is alone in the lead, but not a huge gap. 5 km to go.
Poels looks back to see what is happening.
Katusha leads the chase, with Contador near the front too.
With 3.1 km to go, Poels has 14 seconds on the chasing group.
20 seconds now, and nearly two minutes for Van Avermaet.
POels takes 17 seconds into the final km.
The 27 year old Dutch rider looks to be soloing in for the win!
The field comes in about 15 seconds later.
A huge victory for this surprise winner, and he may have moved into the overall lead as well.
Van Avermaet finally crosses the finish line, 2:12 down.
Second on the day went to Rigoberto Uran, with Purito Rodriguez third.
And Poels does indeed take over the GC lead!
Poels credits his win to his "perfect timing" and says he is in really good shape and not afraid to take on tomorrow's stage in the leader's jersey.
A tip of the hat to Durbridge and Hayman for their brave effort in the long break today.
The stage results:
1 Wouter Poels (Ned) Team Sky 05:53:38
2 Rigoberto Urán (Col) Eitxx-QuickStep 00:14:00
3 Joaquin Rodríguez (Spa) Katusha
4 Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
5 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale
6 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Sa
7 Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Katusha
8 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar
9 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto-Soudal
10 Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-GreenEdge
And the new top ten in GC:
1 Wouter Poels (Ned) Team Sky 14:28:18
2 Rigoberto Urán (Col) Eitxx-QuickStep 00:00:17
3 Steven Cummings (GBr) MTN-Qhubeka 00:00:26
4 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ
5 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo 00:00:27
6 Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Movistar 00:00:28
7 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek Factory Racing
8 Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo 00:00:30
9 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana 00:00:31
10 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 00:00:32
That's it for today. Join us again tomorrow for more fireworks!
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