This is expected to be the decisive stage in this year’s Tirreno-Adriatico!
A break group formed early: Maxime Monfort (Lotto Soudal), Michele Scarponi (Astana), Alessandro De Marchi (BMC), Matteo Monteguti (AG2R), Andriy Grivko (Astana), Paul Voss (Bora-Argon18), Angel Vicioso (Katusha) and Jesus Herrada (Movistar). They now have a gap of 5:23.
Edvald Boasson Hagen (MTN-Qhubeka) tried to move up to join the group, but never caught them and fell back into the peloton.
There are three ranked climbs along the way today, including the mountaintop finish on Terminillo. Early reports say that the road is free from snow – good news! The bad news? Snow is forecast to fall during the day.
Here is what Team Lotto NL Jumbo had to say: “The weather will be bad and the final climb will be tough. That makes today an interesting day.” Sounds like a good description to us.
134km remaining from 194km
After only 60 km, the gap is 7:12.
Orica-GreenEdge echoed those sentiments: “Snow forecast for top of final climb. Interesting (and uncomfortable) stage! “
The first climb of the day was the Passo Sallegri at km 32.6. It is 11.3 km long with an average gradient of 4.6%, maximum 10%. That will be followd by Le Arette at km 72.4, 9.4 km, 3.2% gradient and also maximum 10%.
The final climb is Terminillo, and it will be a tough one, at the very end of the stage. It is a 16.1 km ride up, with an average gradient of 7.3% and a maximum of 12%.
@gingerSFone Sun, 15th Mar 2015 11:43:47
As Lotto NL Jumbo pointed out, the weather may play a role today as snow is forecast. But our Stephen Farrand is on the scene and has tweeted, “The organizers of @TirrenAdriatico have confirmed the stage will finish at the summit of Terminillo despite a risk of snow.”
@TeamSky Sun, 15th Mar 2015 11:53:57
Sky sprinter Elia Vivinai has abandoned the race. He said, “Impossible for me continue @TirrenAdriatico ,yesterday I crossed the line,I need to recover and that the pelvis is ok.”
106km remaining from 194km
The gap has now fallen slightly, to 6:52.
We understand that it is beginning to snow on the final climb.
As a reminder, the 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
Who would ever have picked Wout Poels (Sky) to win yesterday’s stage and take over the race lead? You can read all about it here.
r if you’d rather, you can check out the video of yesterday’s stage here.
@imarkinez Sun, 15th Mar 2015 12:42:42
@Col_Coldeportes Sun, 15th Mar 2015 12:44:25
We are beginning to get the impression that it is wet, cold and snowy at the finish. It will be interesting to see how this works out.
Alberto Contador (Tinkoff Saxo) is surely a favourite here and is confident that he will do well today
72km remaining from 194km
The gap has come down again, to 5:42. Sounds like they aren't in a hurry to climb that snowy mountain at the end!
This is a tiny bit of snow along side the road at this point.
Vincenzo Nibai was expected to do well here, but yesterday was not his day. Lack of form?
65km remaining from 194km
65km to go and a gap of 5:30.
Apparently we are having alternate snow and rain on the Terminillo.
Nairo Quintana (Movistar) was the last rider to sign on at the start and seemed tense about the stage. He said he’d play a waiting game on the climb to Terminillo because he is unsure of his form.
“I'll be watching my rivals and want to be with them, but at the moment, I'm content just to keep improving,” he said.
“I'm starting to get into my rhythm, I feel good, even if I don't know exactly how good. But I think it's pretty high, and I hope it's at the right level for climb.”
Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) crashed on Saturday’s stage but insisted it will not hinder him during the stage to Terminillo.
“Bueno. It’s an important stage and we’ll see who is the strongest and who can win the stage. I don’t know Terminillo and don’t know how it will break up the race. It’ll be important stay focused and be ready for the cold by eating properly. My GC position is not bad but I’ll have to try something to make up the difference on Poels.”
“Yeah, I crashed but it’s all ok. It’s not a problem and won’t affect my race.”
Peter Sagan is not having the kind of luck he is accustomed to, but says he is young and has his whole future ahead of him. Check out our video here.
The Gazzetta notes that "Bad weather could affect the final ascent to Terminillo," but assures us that "However the roadway is clean and in order for the safety of the riders."
RAI apparently is reporting that there is still the possibility of annulling this stage.
We are checking on that RAI report with our man on the scene, Stephen Farrand.
Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) was more talkative at the start than at the finish of Saturday’s stage when he stayed on the team bus after the finish. However he seemed to know that he might struggle on the climb to Terminillo.
RCS Sport has told Cyclingnews that the stage will definitely finish as planned on Terminillo.
@BikeMarino Sun, 15th Mar 2015 13:45:26
31km remaining from 194km
Less than 31 km now, and the peloton is still on the flat. With no snow.
As expected, the gap has dropped again, now about 4 minutes.
Paris-Nice is now finished, and the winner of the last stage is also the overall winner. Want to find out who it is? Click here!
Mark Cavendish (Etixx-QuickStep) was one of the last riders to finish stage four on Saturday, coming in 23 minutes down on winner Wouter Poels (Team Sky). He is tying to survive and get through Tirreno-Adriatico after being hit by a virus while in South Africa, just before the start.
The climbing hasn't started yet, but will be there within about 9 kilometres. The gap is down to just over three minutes with 25km to go.
One of the Astana riders is leading the break group now. Two of them are in there, Grivko and Scarponi.
It is Grivko doing the work at the front, with Scarponi conserving his strength at the back of the group.
Voss takes over the lead work for a spell.
It looks like Movistar and Tinkoff-Saxo at the front of the chasing field.
18.9km to go, and the road is still very flat. We have an intermediate sprint soon.
Scarponi takes the sprint ahead of Voss and Montaguti. Montaguti takes off on a solo, and nearly comes to grief on the wet road on a corner. Good bike skills kept him upright.
The break group has started up the final climb!
Grivko has been dropped by the group, but he did his expected work setting up Scarponi.
The lead group is falling apart, with Scarponi and De Marchi slightly ahead of the others.
We mean Monfort, of course, and not De Marchi.
Here is what the race website tells us about this final climb:
The climb comprises two long stretches at a constant gradient of 7.5-8%, separated by a little under two kilometres at 3-4%, either side of il Pian di Rosce. The two steep sectors are unrelenting, but largely free of sudden variations in gradient. Over the last several hundred metres, the gradient relaxes somewhat. The home stretch in Campoforogna is 200m long, on 7m wide asphalt, slightly uphill (2-3%).
We weren't that far off, as we now have a trio in front: Scarponi, Monfort and De Marchi.
About 40 riders left in the chasing group.
12.6 km and just over two minutes. It is possible for the break to stay away, but .....
The snow is starting to stick to the road at the finish. Could be dangerous, so let's hope there is no kind of a sprint.
Contador of course is in the chasing field. He is not wearing long sleeves or leg warmers.
11km to go, and no snow visible here.
The gap is down to 1:35.
And now we have only two riders in front, as De Marchi has to fall back.
He is fighting his way back.
Sky, with race leader Poels, has finally gathered to head the field. Basso has fallen off the back now, along with many others. There are maybe 30 riders in the group.
Scarponi is doing all the lead work up ahead. Monfort is hanging on but looks to be suffering.
And now Scarponi is alone in front, with 9.8 km to go.
Scarponi has 1:30 on the field.
Scarponi has in fact won three stages at this race in the past, as well as taking the overall title in 2009.
De Marchi has done the impossible and moved up to Scarponi. The two promptly have a little chat.
We see Quintana, quite emotionless, in the chase group.
And now Monfort claws his way back up to the two leaders. The gradient here is very friendly, about 3%, but it won't stay that way long.
Rigoberto Uran (Etixx-QuickStep) is in the chase group as well -- and has his jersey open and flapping in the (cold) wind!
Scarponi "suggests" that the other to take a jab at the lead work. They comply, but with a notable lack of enthusiasm.
Kirienka (Sky) has been pulling the field up this mountain single-handedly.
Kreuziger jumps to the front of the group. They quickly match his attack, but the action has now started!
6.7 km and only 47 seconds for the leaders.
Monfort can no longer stay with Scarponi and De Marchi.
Etixx and Tinkoff-Saxo now leading the group.
Scarponi once again pulls away from De Marchi.
The weather just keeps getting worse at the finish line, but it is still ok for the riders.
Uran sitting second wheel and looking very strong.
NIbali not doing well at all. And is Contador starting to have difficulties?
The gloves are off! Quintana goes, and alone!
Quitana takes off in front, as Nibali fades off the back.
Contador gave chase but couldn't catch him.
Contador, Mollema and others have formed a group of 7 to chase Quintana.
3.7km to go, and Quintana catches Scarponi. They are now riding into the falling snow.
Pinot jumps from the chase group. Contador tries to but takes most of them with him.
Uran is the next to attack.
Quintana has passed and dropped Scarponi, and has 2.6 km before him.
Mollema has jumped, and has already caught Scarponi.
Contador tries again, and Pinot goes with him, as does Yates.
Quintana keeps grinding his way up in the falling snow. Mollema is alone behind him, with Contador group behind him.
26 seconds between Quintera and Mollema.
Inside the final km now for Quintera.
The Contador group has been caught from behind.
Snow on the road as Quintana approaches the finish line.
Victory for Quintana!
Mollema is the next to appear out of the snow and fog to finish second. Surprisingly, Purito Rodriguez is not far behind and takes third.
Poels comes in just over 1:30 down.
Mollema finished 41 seconds behind Quintana. We suspect that the Colombian may move into the overall lead.
Quintana does indeed take the race lead, ahead of Mollema.
Top ten on today's stage:
Top ten on today's stage:
Let's try that again. Here the top ten on the stage:
1 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar 05:26:03
2 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek Factory Racing 00:41
3 Joaquim Rodríguez (Spa) Katusha 00:55 4
Rigoberto Urán (Col) Etixx-QuickStep
5 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo
6 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FD
J 7 Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-GreenEdge
8 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
9 Prezemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida 01:05
10 Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC 01:10
Here is the new top ten in General Classification:
1 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar
2 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek Factory Racing 00:39
3 Rigoberto Urán (Col) Etixx-QuickStep 00:48
4 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ 00:57
5 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 01:03
6 Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-GreenEdge 01:04
7 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 01:06
8 Joaquim Rodríguez (Spa) Katusha 01:07
9 Steven Cummings (GBr) MTN-Qhubeka 01:12
10 Wouter Poels (Ned) Team Sky 01:13
That's a wrap! Time for everyone to warm up again after all that excitement, snow and cold. Be sure to catch us again tomorrow!
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