Van Avermaet denies Sagan on Tirreno-Adriatico stage 6

A curious edition of Tirreno-Adriatico took another twist on its penultimate day in Cepagatti as Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) out-sprinted world champion Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) from a small breakaway group to claim stage victory and move into the overall lead.

If the cancellation of Sunday’s stage to Monte San Vicino had presented the likes Van Avermaet, Sagan and Zdenek Stybar (Etixx-QuickStep) with an unexpected opportunity to win the race overall, they demonstrated on Monday that they had every intention of grabbing it.

The trio were part of an elite eight-rider group that cannily snuck off the front on the first of two laps around the finishing circuit in Cepagatti. Together with Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky), they were the final survivors, fending off the furious pursuit behind to fight it out for stage honours.

Kwiatkowski made a long, searing effort in the final kilometre that burnt off first Fernando Gaviria (Etixx-QuickStep) and then the race leader Stybar, before Sagan sprung into life and careered past him with 200 metres to go.

After a string of near misses, it seemed as though the world champion, today wearing the red points jersey, was going to land his first win since claiming the world title in Richmond last year, but Van Avermaet – no longer, it seems, the eternal second – fought back to come around Sagan at the death.

In truth, Van Avermaet had contributed the least in the eight-man move that was powered by Tinkoff and the Etixx-QuickStep trio of Stybar, Gaviria and Matteo Trentin. With teammate Tejay van Garderen, on the same time as him overall and a far stronger time triallist, in the chasing peloton, Van Avermaet felt he had a cast-iron alibi.

“I tried to save myself for the finish because we had only Tejay and Caruso in the group behind so it was not the best situation,” Van Avermaet said afterwards.

At one point, the eight leaders had an advantage of 35 seconds over the peloton, but the fragmented bunch closed to within touching distance of their coattails on the final run-in to the line, but couldn’t make the junction.

Caleb Ewan (Orica-GreenEdge) showcased his ferocious finishing speed by winning the fragmented bunch sprint for 5th place, 7 seconds down on Van Avermaet. Alejandro Valerde, whose Movistar team had been active in chasing the move, placed 6th, ahead of Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida).

The ten-second time bonus for the stage win was enough to lift Van Avermaet into the blue jersey of race leader, seven seconds ahead of Stybar, who battled gamely to hold on before yielding in those breathless final metres.

Sagan, meanwhile, lies in third place overall, 8 seconds down on Van Avermaet, though all three could yet face a stiff challenge in the short final time trial from Bob Jungels (Etixx-QuickStep), who lies 4th at 21 seconds.

“It’s not my speciality,” Van Avermaet said. “10k is pretty long for me. I’m better in prologues but I’ll try. It’s a bit of a strange situation that I’m going for the GC in Tirreno.” 

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team4:34:14
2Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff TeamRow 1 - Cell 2
3Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky0:00:02
4Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Etixx - Quick-Step0:00:04
5Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge0:00:07
6Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 5 - Cell 2
7Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre - MeridaRow 6 - Cell 2
8Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 7 - Cell 2
9Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani CSFRow 8 - Cell 2
10Moreno Hofland (Ned) Team LottoNl-JumboRow 9 - Cell 2
11Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Cannondale Pro CyclingRow 10 - Cell 2
12Paul Voss (Ger) Bora-Argon 18Row 11 - Cell 2
13Jarlinson Pantano (Col) IAM CyclingRow 12 - Cell 2
14Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli - SidermecRow 13 - Cell 2
15Wouter Poels (Ned) Team SkyRow 14 - Cell 2
16Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 15 - Cell 2
17Pello Bilbao (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 16 - Cell 2
18Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-GreenEdgeRow 17 - Cell 2
19Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Giant-AlpecinRow 18 - Cell 2
20Peter Kennaugh (GBr) Team SkyRow 19 - Cell 2
21Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension DataRow 20 - Cell 2
22Bob Jungels (Lux) Etixx - Quick-StepRow 21 - Cell 2
23José Gonçalves (Por) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 22 - Cell 2
24Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre - MeridaRow 23 - Cell 2
25Pim Ligthart (Ned) Lotto SoudalRow 24 - Cell 2
26Jan Bakelants (Bel) AG2R La MondialeRow 25 - Cell 2
27Daniel Moreno (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 26 - Cell 2
28Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-SegafredoRow 27 - Cell 2
29Jaime Roson (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 28 - Cell 2
30Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 29 - Cell 2
31Fernando Gaviria (Col) Etixx - Quick-StepRow 30 - Cell 2
32Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La MondialeRow 31 - Cell 2
33Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro TeamRow 32 - Cell 2
34Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx - Quick-StepRow 33 - Cell 2
35Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM CyclingRow 34 - Cell 2
36Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJRow 35 - Cell 2
37Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) FDJRow 36 - Cell 2
38Davide Vigano (Ita) Androni Giocattoli - SidermecRow 37 - Cell 2
39Jasha Sütterlin (Ger) Movistar TeamRow 38 - Cell 2
40Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 39 - Cell 2
41Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff TeamRow 40 - Cell 2
42Dominik Nerz (Ger) Bora-Argon 18Row 41 - Cell 2
43Mark Cavendish (GBr) Dimension DataRow 42 - Cell 2
44Davide Rebellin (Ita) CCC Sprandi PolkowiceRow 43 - Cell 2
45Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM CyclingRow 44 - Cell 2
46Leszek Plucinski (Pol) CCC Sprandi PolkowiceRow 45 - Cell 2
47Simone Ponzi (Ita) CCC Sprandi PolkowiceRow 46 - Cell 2
48Roger Kluge (Ger) IAM CyclingRow 47 - Cell 2
49Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Argon 18Row 48 - Cell 2
50Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Team SkyRow 49 - Cell 2
51Kristijan Koren (Slo) Cannondale Pro CyclingRow 50 - Cell 2
52Reto Hollenstein (Swi) IAM CyclingRow 51 - Cell 2
53Marco Haller (Aut) Team KatushaRow 52 - Cell 2
54Enrico Barbin (Ita) Bardiani CSFRow 53 - Cell 2
55Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Cannondale Pro CyclingRow 54 - Cell 2
56Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale Pro CyclingRow 55 - Cell 2
57Bakhtiyar Kozhatayev (Kaz) Astana Pro TeamRow 56 - Cell 2
58Matteo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R La MondialeRow 57 - Cell 2
59Valerio Conti (Ita) Lampre - MeridaRow 58 - Cell 2
60Adrian Honkisz (Pol) CCC Sprandi PolkowiceRow 59 - Cell 2
61Stef Clement (Ned) IAM CyclingRow 60 - Cell 2
62Rodolfo Andres Torres (Col) Androni Giocattoli - SidermecRow 61 - Cell 2
63Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli - SidermecRow 62 - Cell 2
64Julien Vermote (Bel) Etixx - Quick-StepRow 63 - Cell 2
65Natnael Berhane (Eri) Dimension DataRow 64 - Cell 2
66Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 65 - Cell 2
67Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar TeamRow 66 - Cell 2
68Matteo Trentin (Ita) Etixx - Quick-Step0:00:29
69Tiago Machado (Por) Team KatushaRow 68 - Cell 2
70Luis Mas Bonet (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA0:00:37
71Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-GreenEdge0:00:40
72Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Trek-SegafredoRow 71 - Cell 2
73Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing Team0:00:46
74Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar TeamRow 73 - Cell 2
75Angel Madrazo Ruiz (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 74 - Cell 2
76Alexandre Geniez (Fra) FDJ0:00:52
77Sébastien Turgot (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 76 - Cell 2
78Timo Roosen (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo0:00:55
79Mike Teunissen (Ned) Team LottoNl-JumboRow 78 - Cell 2
80Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Team LottoNl-JumboRow 79 - Cell 2
81Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale Pro CyclingRow 80 - Cell 2
82Elia Viviani (Ita) Team SkyRow 81 - Cell 2
83Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Team Sky0:00:59
84Simon Clarke (Aus) Cannondale Pro Cycling0:01:03
85Jack Bauer (NZl) Cannondale Pro CyclingRow 84 - Cell 2
86Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team0:01:10
87Sergei Chernetski (Rus) Team KatushaRow 86 - Cell 2
88Markel Irizar (Spa) Trek-SegafredoRow 87 - Cell 2
89Víctor De La Parte (Spa) CCC Sprandi Polkowice0:01:15
90Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre - MeridaRow 89 - Cell 2
91Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team0:01:20
92Lorenzo Rota (Ita) Bardiani CSF0:01:26