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Tirreno-Adriatico 2017: Stage 6

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Good morning, and welcome to Cyclingnews' live race centre for stage 6 of Tirreno-Adriatico. It's the penultimate stage of the race - an undulating 168km journey from Ascoli Piceno to Civitanova Marche, with a finishing circuit that packs a punch. A stiff climb lasting almost three kilometres precedes a flat 4km run to the line and should make for a finely-poised affair. Peter Sagan, winner of two stages already here, must be licking his lips. 

The riders have signed on and are just lining up for the roll-out, so we'll be underway very shortly. 

Ready to go

The riders are currently making their way through the neutralised section towards kilometre-zero. 

Race leader Nairo Quintana and points classification leader Peter Sagan ahead of the roll-out

And they're off!

A group of seven is on the move

This break looks good, as the peloton allows them to open up over a minute. There's one rider who missed the boat and is trying to bridge across. 

Pavel Kochetkov (Katusha-Alpecin) is the man in the middle, but not for long, as he manages to make the junction with around 10km covered. 

The eight in the break:

The gap back to the peloton currently stands at 3 minutes, but it continues to increase. 

As the race settles into a situation that is likely to remain for most of the day, we bring you some breaking news. Chris Froome, who has caused a stir with his refusal to join his Sky teammates in publicly backing Dave Brailsford, has broken his silence with a statement in which he says "Without Dave B there is no Team Sky". 

The breakaway's advance is stifled slightly as Dimension Data appear on the front of the bunch. Did they want to get a man in the break today? They have a couple of cards to play for the stage win today. Mark Cavendish is an obvious candidate for the sprint and is a past winner of Milan-San Remo, which features a late climb, while Edvald Boasson Hagen is another option should those late ramps prove selective. 

145km remaining from 168km

Here's the view from the Novo Nordisk team car, with the diabetes team managing to put Joonas Henttala in the break. 

What's in the water at the Orica-Scott camp?

130km remaining from 168km

117km remaining from 168km

We should tell you about a minor alteration to today's route. 

It's a Belgian alliance in the peloton at the moment, with Lotto Soudal and Quick-Step Floors doing the heavy lifting. Jens Debuscherre could pack a fast finish from a reduced group for Lotto, while in Fernando Gaviria, Quick-Step have a bona fide favourite. 

96km remaining from 168km

A reminder of the overall standings heading into today's stage.

 A mixture of teams working on the front at the moment with Dimension Data at the head, followed by Lotto Soudal and Quick-Step. Movistar getting a lot of help from the sprinters' teams. 

86km remaining from 168km

Anyone have a picnic? The peloton is still waiting for the train to go by so they're enjoying a lengthy rest. 

The gap has now gone up to 5:22 as the peloton resumes the racing. The officials weren't quite ready to go and had to rush back to their vehicles with the peloton eager to get going after a three-minute hiatus. 

Italian television reporting that the break may be held up at some point for three minutes in order to off-set the time the peloton had to wait. The leaders have just passed the halfway point and are making their way up the KOM.

Race radio has just confirmed that the break will be made to wait. 

The judges have decided to make them stop just 500 metres from the top of the KOM. A strange decision. A little later in the course would have made more sense. 

It took a while to make them stop. The leaders were riding slowly before a few finally stopped. One of the Bardiani riders tried to continue but was pulled up by another of the motorbikes. 

The riders are off again and the KOM is in sight. 

Marangoni takes the full points at the top of the climb and should be wearing the mountains jersey tomorrow. 

77km remaining from 168km

Judging by the tears on his shorts, it looks like Rosa came down on his backside. He is back in the bunch though. 

Unlike most of last week, we've only got one race today after Paris-Nice reached its conclusion on Sunday. Yet again, it was a dramatic ending to the Race to the Sun with Alberto Contador going on the attack to try and win the race on the final day. He was much closer this time out but still missed victory by just two seconds. Read the full story here.

67km remaining from 168km

The riders come over one of a number of small kicks. Calm has been restored after that level crossing chaos, with the peloton setting a relaxed rhythm. 

Dimension Data put Jay Thomson on the front, then it's Lotto Soudal's Bart de Clercq, followed by Quick-Step's Julien Vermote. Behind them there are a few Movistar jerseys - there to keep race leader Nairo Quintana safe and sound.

60km remaining from 168km

We've got a first photo of the peloton stopped at the level crossing earlier

And here are the breakaway riders, and their team bosses, after being ordered to stop near the top of the climb. 

53km remaining from 168km

The breakaway riders are on the approach to the first intermediate sprint, and Kochetkov decides to clip off the front. Bardiani shut it down but the Italian's in that group seem a bit nonplussed as to what the Russian is up to. 

Mirco Maestri has a chance to win the points classification at Tirreno-Adriatico. He sits second, on 30 points - two behind Peter Sagan. If he wins the two intermediate sprints, and Sagan finishes off the podium on the stage, he'll have it. 

And Maestri clips off the front of the group to take maximum points. No one tries to spoil his party by putting up a fight. 

Kochetkov may have ruffled some feathers in that group with that increase in pace on the drag towards that sprint, but as a result the gap back to the peloton has increased to 1:45. 

Unfortunately for Henttala, the upping of the tempo has proved costly, and the Novo Nordisk rider has been dropped. It's downhill at the moment, so let's see if he can get back on. 

This finale does bear some similarity to Milan-San Remo, and it has been revealed that Julian Alaphilippe, so impressive at Paris-Nice last week, will make his debut at La Primavera this weekend. Here's the story

38km remaining from 168km

36km remaining from 168km

That sprint comes with 15km remaining. 

Peter Sagan is off the back of the bunch at the moment, having seemingly suffered a mechanical. He has teammates with him to help him through the cars. 

Gastauer picks things up in the break. They really need to put in a shift now to keep at bay a peloton that is gaining momentum.

Sky put a rider on the front now. They have Elia Viviani for the sprint if he can survive the climb. Quick-Step have men up there just behind. 

Here's a closer look at the 15km finishing circuit.

As you can see, it's a climb of around 2.5km, with some stiff gradients. Then a run downhill and just under 4 flat kilometres. If the climb doesn't cause too much damage it will certainly drain the legs. 

26km remaining from 168km

25km remaining from 168km

Dimension Data come to the fore in numbers now, while Lotto come back up. 

21km remaining from 168km

Movistar come to the front now, the GC teams making their presence felt as they look to keep their leaders well positioned. 

The break heads for the line and the intermediate sprint, and of course it's Bardiani who set up Maestri. 

Maestri rolls through to take five more points. He's in the virtual lead of the points classification but is now hoping Sagan doesn't place in the sprint for the stage win. 

14km remaining from 168km

13km remaining from 168km

The climb will begin with just over 9km to go. There's a real fight for position here, with a number of pinch points on the approach as the peloton comes through town. 

11km remaining from 168km

10km remaining from 168km

10km remaining from 168km

9km remaining from 168km

Nibali attacks!

Nibali, who has been seen attacking on the Poggio in Milan-San Remo before, has some fun with the sprinters' teams. He gets a small gap but others ride over to him, and the peloton stretches out. 

8km remaining from 168km

Jungels is just marking Nibali, in the interests of QuickStep's sprinter, Gaviria. They're catching the breakaway members. 

Fabio Felline attacks now.

Felline has won the Trofeo Laigueglia, and is a real threat on hilly courses. 

Terpstra attacks!

Mattia Cattaneo has gone with Felline, and they've joined Gastauer at the head of affairs. Terpstra has made the bridge. 

6km remaining from 168km

The world champion senses that this climb is doing damage, and he takes off over the top. 

5km remaining from 168km

Felline and Cataneo try to get back to Terpstra, while others track Sagan, with the rest of the bunch lined out behind the world champ

4km remaining from 168km

A UAE rider comes up to the front now and tries to attack Terpstra

3km remaining from 168km

Felline, Terpstra, Cattaneo up front, but they've only got a very small gap.

2km remaining from 168km

2km remaining from 168km

1km remaining from 168km

1km remaining from 168km

Some gaps in the bunch. Lotto look good at the front. 

Lotto Soudal lead it out. Roelandts. They're going for Debuscherre. 

Sagan is there

Gaviria opens it up...

Fernando Gaviria wins stage 6 of Tirreno-Adriatico

Sagan comes through and runs the Colombian close, but the world champ has to settle for second place. 

Jasper Stuyven bags third place. Trentin fourth, then Debuscherre and VIviani. 

Cavendish was badly positioned and absent from the top 10. Others in the same boat, too, as those pinch points made for a messy final few hundred metres. Being near the front was crucial. 

Top 10

"This was the first real sprint stage for us, because on the second stage we made an error and there was a crash, but today everything went well for us," says Gaviria.

"This was the first real sprint stage for us, because on the second stage we made an error and there was a crash, but today everything went well for us," says Gaviria.

 General classification after stage 6

Finish line shot from the race organisers

Here's our report page:

So, just one stage remains in this Tirreno-Adriatico, and it's a time trial. Short, flat, fast; it will decide the general classification. Nairo Quintana surely has enough of a buffer to win the race, but the podium places are far from settled. 

Sagan heads to the podium to collect the red jersey, and he will finish the race as the winner of the points classification. Mirco Maestri gave it a good go and did all he could, but the odds of Sagan finishing outside the top three on a stage such as this were always going to be slim.

Thanks for your company today. We'll be back tomorrow with full live coverage of the final-day time trial, so do join us again then. In the meantime, we'll have all the news and reaction from the race, so keep an eye on cyclingnews.com. I'll leave you with our full report:

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