We're live and ready to go. Welcome to stage 3 of Tirreno-Adriatico as the riders set off from Monterotondo Marittimo.
Here are the jersey wearers on the start line a few moments ago. Greg Van Avermaet has gone for the team gilet over the top of his blue jersey. It's more function than fashion but we'll let it go.
There are blue skies out there for the riders as they make their way through the neutral zone.
Yesterday's 229km effort was the longest of the race. Today's is the third longest but it's still a lengthy 204km and features one classified climb. This is what the riders can expect today.
It's not the easiest of starts today, with the neutral zone entirely uphill. But, as I sometimes think to myself, it's downhill from there. There are a few intermittent lumps but the first 30km of today's stage is largely downhill.
Yesterday's stage was supposed to be one for the Classics type riders and while he's left the Classics behind this year entirely, Geraint Thomas still had a feel for it. He took victory alone in a fashion that was reminiscent of his E3 Harelbeke win. You can read the full report here and the video highlight are available above. Don't want to overload your browser with too many pages, look below for a top 10 from yesterday's stage 2.
1 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 5:51:44
2 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:00:09
3 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
4 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team
5 Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
6 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky
7 Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-Scott
8 Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team
9 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team
10 Simon Clarke (Aus) Cannondale-Drapac
The result also had a small impact on the GC, although Thomas is still well down after Team Sky's bad day in the team time trial.
1 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 6:15:14
2 Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team
3 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team
4 Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing Team
5 Niki Terpstra (Ned) Quick-Step Floors 0:00:16
6 Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors
7 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 0:00:21
8 Daniel Moreno (Spa) Movistar Team
9 Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) FDJ
10 Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Movistar Team
We're 12km into the stage and five riders have got up the road. Mattia Frapporti (Androni-Sidermec), Andry Grivko (Astana), Mirco Maestri Luca Wackermann (Bardiani – CSF), Iuri Filosi e Kohei Uchima (Nippo-Fantini), Alexis Gougeard (Ag2r La Mondiale) have got 2:30 on the peloton at the moment.
Yesterday, we had our first mountains of the race. The young Davide Ballerini went up against Alan Marangoni. They're equal on points but Ballerini gets the honour of wearing the jersey. Noticeably, neither of them are in the break today.
1 Davide Ballerini (Ita) Androni Giocattoli 8 pts
2 Alan Marangoni (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini 8
3 Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team 5
4 Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) FDJ 3
5 Mirco Maestri (Ita) Bardiani CSF 3
6 Charles Planet (Fra) Team Novo Nordisk 3
7 Gianni Moscon (Ita) Team Sky 2
8 Steve Morabito (Swi) FDJ 1
@AstanaTeam Fri, 10th Mar 2017 10:51:12
The gap continues to edge out and after 25km the leaders have an advantage of 3:27.
Maestri is the only rider from yesterday's break that has managed to do it again today. The Bardiani rider wont he intermediate sprints yesterday but is third in the points classification as Geraint Thomas mopped 12 points at the finish.
@TirrenAdriatico Fri, 10th Mar 2017 11:10:58
BMC controlling things on the front of the peloton at the moment. They've allowed the gap to extend to 3:30.
Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford was at the start today after Thomas confirmed that he had been making trips to the race. Our own Stephen Farrand spoke to him and we'll have more on that later.
50 kilometres in and the break has 3:49 on the peloton. The one and only climb of the day is around 20 kilometres up the road.
Remember it's also Paris-Nice today. You can follow that here with Patrick Fletcher
A shot of the peloton riding through the countryside. It's another beautiful day out there.
The gap between the two groups shuffled around a little as they passed through the feed zone. Normal service has resumed and it's back to 3:30. Next up is the Scansano climb.
While it has so far been predominantly Italian teams in the breaks over the past two days, AG2R La Mondiale has also been a constant. Yesterday it was Hugo Houle and today it's Alexis Gougeard. The team has Domenico Pozzovivo and Alex Geniez, who are 59 seconds down in GC but they're not afraid of mixing it up in the hunt for a stage win.
@TrekSegafredo Fri, 10th Mar 2017 12:08:38
Dimension Data is doing a bit of work on the front at the moment. Today is one of the rare chances for the purer sprinters, although it's not a stright forward finish, Gaviria is the favourite for many today but Cavendish or maybe Boasson Hagen could get in the mix for the South African team.
@Cyclingnewsfeed Fri, 10th Mar 2017 12:19:20
As I said before, today's finish is not straight forward with a short and punchy rise in the final kilometre making any sort of lead-out that little bit harder. This is what it looks like.
Fernando Gaviria won in Montalto di Castro last season, his first at WorldTour level. He's missing lead-out man Richeze but with the likes of Vermote, Boonen, Stybar and Keisse in there he should be ok.
110km remaining from 204km
As the group hits the top of the KOM, the gap is holding at 3:15. The peloton is keeping them at close quarters right the way through.
@BMCProTeam Fri, 10th Mar 2017 12:51:30
Tom Boonen and Peter Sagan riding side by side in the peloton. We didn't get a chance to see these guys do battle on the opening weekend of the Classics. Hopefully we will soon with Boonen set to retire in less than a month.
The break is quickly approaching the intermediate sprints and the two Baridani riders are doing a lot of work at the front. Maestri wants the points here. With 2:40 the gap they should make that ok but their time out front is going to end in the not too distant future.
Lots of different teams represented at the front of the bunch. BMC, Dimension Data and Quick-Step are among them. They've knocked things off a tad but it's still pretty much all guns blazing at the moment.
Along with Gougeard, Grivko is one of the only non-Italians in the breakaway. Grivko made an unwanted name for himself earlier this year when he had a bit of an on-bike scuffle with Marcel Kittel.
Maestri takes the points at the intermediate sprint as back in the peloton Stybar has to go to the team car to have his team radio sorted out.
82km remaining from 204km
The second intermediate sprint will be quickly upon the riders, the line is with 74km to go. They've got to go up a short unclassified climb to do it, though.
2:23 the latest gap for the escapees. There's still close to 80 kilometres to go and the peloton has already showed that it can shut this down pretty sharpish if they want.
Philippe Gilbert is racing out at Paris-Nice this week while some of his Classics teammates are here in Tirreno-Adriatico. The now Quick-Step rider is readying himself for Milan-San Rmeo next week and told Cyclingnews' Daniel Benson that a win there would be much more emotional than another Liege. Read exactly what he had to say here.
Maestri takes the points again at the intermediate sprint. He's well in the lead of the points classification for now but that could change at the finish.
70km remaining from 204km
Uchima takes out a copy of the parcours and his heart sinks, there are still 70 kilometres remaining and the gap has dropped below two minutes.
The impetus has really gone out of the break now and they've got just 1:30 of an advantage over the peloton.
Here's something to remember them by though.
Bora Hansgrohe has come to the fore and they're really doing some damage.
With 60km still to run, the six leaders have just under a minute now.
Bora are obviously working for Peter Sagan, who likes this sort of difficult finish. The world champion was ill over the weekend but he must be feeling somewhat better if the team are working on the front for him. Saying that, he finished second at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad when he reportedly had a stomach upset, so he can perform even when he isn't feeling well.
59km remaining from 204km
Jasper Stuyven is making his way through the cars after having a wheel change due to a puncture.
Giovanni Visconti is also back in the cars and he's talking at length with the team's DS.
55km remaining from 204km
Wackerman looks to be in trouble and he's been distanced on one of the small rises. He's been doing plenty of work today for Maestri and that points jersey that Bardiani wanted so much. He'll just sit up now and wait to be devoured by the peloton.
Maestri also headed out the back door. He'll be hoping that the top placed riders in the standings don't feature too highly in today's finish. A victory by Sagan would knock him off the podium and would force him into another day in the break.
Filosi pushes on and Gougeard is forced to pick up the chase. Filosi's move doesn't last long. The pace is too much for Uchima, who is the next of the escapees to be dropped.
So there are just four remaining now in the breakaway. After reducing the gap to below a minute, the escapees have a little more room to breath with the gap of 1:25.
47km remaining from 204km
With some of the weaker riders dispatched with and the peloton easing up, the gap has gone well up now to 2:10. There's camaraderie up there too and Filosi hands a bidon to Frapporti.
Mattia Frapporti has gone pop. The bidon was not enough and it's down to three as the break make their way up a small climb.
Unsurprisingly, it's the WorldTour riders that have looked the strongest in this break. In particular, Gougeard has looked good. The 24-year-old is a Vuelta a Espana stage winner and finished 5th at last year's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. He's a strong rider.
Grivko is a well established rider in the peloton having turned professional back on 2005. He's been with Astana since 2010 and won the overall classification at La Méditerranéenne last season. He's also a five-time national time trial champion.
Filosi is the only one of the Pro Continental riders remaining in the breakaway. The 25-year-old is in his second year as a professional.
Some riders really struggling at the back of the peloton as the sprinters' teams ratchet things up again. After allowing the gap to balloon out, they are looking to control it again and bring it back to under two minutes.
36km remaining from 204km
The break is trying to make this last as long as they can and they're working extremely well together. Grivko doing a huge turn on the front before letting Gougeard through. With 36km to go they've got 1:36. It's a long shot but worth a try.
Bora-Hansgrohe, BMC and Quick-Step are doing the chasing at the moment. The pace has definitely ramped up as the bunch strings out. This is going to be a fast and furious finish because the break isn't going to let them have it easy.
A problem for Debusschere and he has to take a spare wheel from neutral service. There is no team car available. He'll have a devil's own job getting back onto the bunch at this pace and with no teammates to help thus far.
30km remaining from 204km
Just under a minute for the escapees now. They're still giving it beans though.
The peloton has seen its ranks severely diminished by the high pace. Looks to be around 40 to 50 riders left in there.
@quickstepteam Fri, 10th Mar 2017 14:42:39
25km remaining from 204km
All the vehicles jumping out of the gap between the two groups. It's just 15 seconds now between them. Not long left of this move.
22km remaining from 204km
Just Filosi left now in the break as Grivko and Gougeard sit up. He's got 13 seconds as the peloton lets him dangle out front.
This is more of a glory show than a real, considered breakaway. Filosi is highly unlikely to be able to make it to the finish and is just showing off the sponsors for as long as he can.
A small descent for the rifer and the speed has seriously risen. The breakaway has been shut down and this is all about the sprint now.
15km remaining from 204km
It would be a brave, or maybe stupid, rider to try and attack at this speed. Quick-Step are really driving this.
There is a lot of movement as teams try to get up towards the front. One of the UAE Team Emirates riders has to put in a full-on sprint to get up to the head of the peloton.
Nobody wants to get caught out at this point and at this speed we could see some splits in the bunch.
10km remaining from 204km
It is none other than Tom Boonen setting the pace on the front. You know you have a strong team when Boonen is having to work with 10km still to go.
Daniel Oss has to take a wheel change. He's going to struggle to get back on and be of use to his team before the finish. That's a blow for BMC who have both Van Avermaet and Drucker as possibilities in this finish.
Sunweb muscle their way to the front of the bunch to look after Dumoulin and maybe try to set up Andersen.
7km remaining from 204km
As I type, Sagan comes to the front of the peloton and puts in a bit of work on this descent. He looks back to see what damage he's done and there are some splits but nothing serious. Movistar and Cannondale move up and try to calm things down.
The GC riders will want as calm a finish as possible but there are plenty of riders who seem keen to throw a spanner in the works.
Team Sky getting in the mix. They've got one win under their belt after yesterday, what can they do today? It's Kiryienka in the hotseat.
@TirrenAdriatico Fri, 10th Mar 2017 15:08:13
The roads aren't too wide around the finish and the teams are having to work hard to get their positions.
2km remaining from 204km
The live data has the riders chugging along at well over 50kph and it's only getting faster. Bora, BMC, Sky and Quick-Step all near the front.
Stuyven and Quintana bump shoulders in the middle of the bunch. Quintana is still upright as is Stuyven.
Bora setting the road on fire, riders all over the place. This is fast.
Modolo tries to go long
Viviani is in his wheel
But it's Sagan that wins.
Sagan had his team set a leg-sapping pace int he finish. He held off until the little rise before blasting past Modolo and Viviani.
Jurgen Roelandts stuck himself into that sprint and managed a decent third place. Perhaps a little practice for San Remo next week.
There's a replay of the final kilometre and it looks like a few riders went down. At least one Orica-Scott rider down and it may have been Yates.
@Ride_Argyle Fri, 10th Mar 2017 15:18:26
The top 10 on stage 3 of Tirreno-Adriatico.
1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe 4:51:59
2 Elia Viviani (Ita) Team Sky
3 Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Soudal
4 Sacha Modolo (Ita) Team UAE Emirates
5 Luka Mezgec (Slo) Orica-Scott
6 Rick Zabel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin
7 Andrea Palini (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
8 Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Team UAE Emirates
9 Georg Preidler (Aut) Team Sunweb
10 Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Team Sunweb
Rohan Dennis is now the race leader. It seems that Van Avermaet was caught behind the crash. He didn't lose any time but Dennis' better finishing position earns him the blue jersey.
Through the food he was busily getting down after the stage, Peter Sagan had a few words to say about his victory.
"You don’t know you never know what’s going to happen and today was a bit windy," he said. "Everybody was afraid about the wind in the last 50k but in the end nothing happened and maybe a lot of riders came to the finish without legs. The last couple of kilometres there were cross winds.
"I have to thank all my teammates because they did a great job today and Bora-Hansgrohe is the best team."
When asked if his illness was behind him and there were more victories to come, Sagan said: "I hope so, the season just started now and I hope that it’s not the last victory."
Peter Sagan punches the air to celebrate his second win of the year. He won Kuurne two weeks ago.
Tomorrow will be the first real challenge for BMC in the overall classification. Tejay van Garderen has been pretty anonymous so far but he and his team will be hoping that he can be the fourth BMC rider to take the leader's jersey.
Meanwhile, over in France, Simon Yates has taken an impressive stage win following a solo attack. He beat Sergio Henao by 17 seconds.
Back to Tirreno-Adriatico and this is what the parcours looks like tomorrow. Two climbs, including the first proper summit finish.
Rohan Dennis sprays the champagne on the podium after getting up to collect his blue jersey.
Our full report from today is live and we have some pictures from the stage too. Check them out here and keep tuned as we get full results.
@TeamSky Fri, 10th Mar 2017 15:55:38
@TirrenAdriatico Fri, 10th Mar 2017 16:00:12
@irishpeloton Fri, 10th Mar 2017 16:04:30
After that flurry of tweets, I bid you farewell. We'll have live coverage again tomorrow. Be sure to be here, it's going to be a good one.
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