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Tirreno-Adriatico 2018: Stage 2

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Stage 2 of Tirreno-Adriatico is emphatically one for the sprinters. The lone difficulty on the 167km leg comes early, with the gruppo facing the climb of Montemagno immediately on leaving the start in Camaiore. The stage is flat thereafter, as the route heads south by way of Pisa and Donoratico, before reaching the finish in Follonica, where the three laps of an 8.3km finishing circuit will give the fast men a couple of looks at the finishing straight on the Viale Italia.

One sprinter who will not be on hand for the expected bunch sprint this afternoon is Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data). The Manxman was a faller in yesterday's team time trial and finished the stage outside the time limit. There was no clemency shown by the commissaires, and Cavendish's preparation for Milan-San Remo has been hugely compromised. Cavendish sustained a broken rib in the crash but would reportedly have been fit to start stage 2 had he not been eliminated. 

 

167km remaining from 167km

The peloton has navigated the neutralised zone and reached kilometre zero for the official start of stage 2 of Tirreno-Adriatico.

 

Damiano Caruso (BMC) wears the blue leader's jersey after yesterday's team time trial, where Rohan Dennis impressed in the winning effort. Mitchelton-Scott placed second, 4 seconds down, while Sky were third at 9 seconds.

 

The general classification picture at the start of stage 2 is as follows:

 

1 Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing Team 0:22:19
2 Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team
3 Patrick Bevin (NZl) BMC Racing Team
4 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team
5 Luke Durbridge (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott 0:00:04
6 Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton-Scott
7 Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott
8 Michael Hepburn (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
9 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:09
10 Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Team Sky
11 Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Team Sky
12 Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky
13 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky
14 Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Team Sky
15 Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors 0:00:15
16 Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Quick-Step Floors
17 Niki Terpstra (Ned) Quick-Step Floors
18 Fernando Gaviria (Col) Quick-Step Floors
19 Stefan Küng (Swi) BMC Racing Team 0:00:21
20 Lennard Kämna (Ger) Team Sunweb 0:00:25

 

162km remaining from 167km

There was precious little resistance from the peloton as an early escape went clear on the climb of Montemagno. Alexandr Foliforov (Gazprom-Rusvelo), Guy Sagiv (Israel Cycling Academy), Nicola Bagioli (Nippo-Vini Fantini) and Jacopo Mosca (Wilier-Selle Italia) have established a lead and this looks like being the break of the day.

 

Foliforov's most notable victory came when he was the surprise winner of the Alpe di Siusi time trial on the 2016 Giro d'Italia. Today's finish town was, incidentally, the site of another Russian time trial stage win at the Giro. After seizing the maglia rosa at Campitello Matese four days previously, Evgeni Berzin buttressed his lead in the 1994 Giro by winning the stage 8 time trial from Grosseto to Follonica. The favourite, Miguel Indurain, could only manage 4th on the day, conceding 2:34 to Berzin.

 

 

152km remaining from 167km

After 15 kilometres of racing, Foliforov, Bagioli, Mosca and Sagiv have a lead of 4:25 over a peloton that is being led by BMC.

 

Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin) is among the fast men in the Tirreno-Adriatico peloton, and the German is still seeking his first win for his new team. He couldn't have come much closer in Abu Dhabi the other week, and he struck an optimistic note ahead of today's stage. "I'm 100 percent convinced the victory is coming," says Kittel. You can read the full story here.

 

143km remaining from 167km

The four escapees have extended their buffer once again, and the gap now stands at 5:15.

 

Chris Froome (Team Sky) is riding Tirreno-Adriatico this week despite returning a positive test for salbutamol at last year's Vuelta a Espana. It is, of course, his right to compete until the case is resolved, even though his decision not to withhold himself from racing jars somewhat with his previous claim of "I take my leadership position in my sport very seriously." No matter, Froome is here, although UCI president David Lappartient told the BBC yesterday that if the case is not resolved before the Tour de France, he might ask Froome to consider sitting out La Grande Boucle. "I think if we have no decision of course before the Tour de France I will ask them to reconsider maybe their position," said Lappartient, who also wants the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation to investigate Team Sky in the wake of the publication of the select committee report on doping in British sport. Read the full story here.

 

132km remaining from 167km

The escapees have extended to just north of six minutes, as BMC continue to set a steady tempo at the head of the peloton.

 

And then there were three. Bagioli has sat up from the break, leaving Foliforov, Mosca and Sagiv at the head of the race. BMC, meanwhile, have upped the pace in the peloton, and the gap has dropped back inside five minutes.

 

122km remaining from 167km

Bagioli, incidentally, will wear the mountains jersey tomorrow as he was first to top of Montemagno. His erstwhile companions, meanwhile, have reached the hinterland of Livorno. They will bypass the city en route to Donoratico.

 

115km remaining from 167km

The break's lead has nudged back up towards six minutes, with the sprinters' teams and BMC happy to grant them considerable leeway at this early juncture.

 

108km remaining from 167km

Quick-Step, Sky and Katusha-Alpecin are all positioned towards the head of the bunch, though the bulk of the work has been done by BMC thus far. 6:30 the gap.

 

Foliforov is the virtual overall leader, and the Russian is currently taking the most generous turns at the head of the break.

 

Tom Dumoulin has taken a diplomatic line when discussing the Chris Froome case, though he repeated yesterday that if he were in the Sky rider's position, he would not be able to race as his Sunweb team are part of the MPCC. The Dutchman, who helped Sunweb to fifth place in yesterday's team time trial, is at Tirreno-Adriatico to prepare for the defence of his Giro d'Italia title - but the Tour de France might also yet feature on his programme. Read more here.

 

97km remaining from 167km

Sagiv was forced to a stop with what looked to be a front wheel puncture, but the Israeli is safely back with the break, which has a lead of 6:45 over the peloton.

 

Our man in Tuscany Stephen Farrand spoke with Chris Froome before the start in Camaiore this morning. The Team Sky rider was less than enamored with UCI president David Lappartient's suggestion that he sit out the Tour de France if his case is not resolved. “Given his concern for the reputation of the sport, I think it would be more sensible of him to raise his concerns in person or at least though the right channels as opposed to through the media," Froome said. Read the full story here.

 

Foliforov, Mosca and Sagiv are continuing to combine well at the head of the race, and their buffer has reached 7:25

 

87km remaining from 167km

Guillaume Boivin (Israel Cycling Academy) crashes and lands face down in the banking on the road side. The Canadian was the only faller, but after a bike change, he has remounted and is chasing back on through the convoy.

 

83km remaining from 167km

Mitchelton-Scott have sent Luke Durbridge to the head of the peloton to help with the chase effort on behalf of Caleb Ewan. 6:30 the gap.

 

Tirreno-Adriatico is one of two WorldTour races taking place today, of course. Patrick Fletcher has updates from stage 5 of Paris-Nice here.

 

77km remaining from 167km

This has been a decent cameo from Luke Durbridge, who is preparing for another tilt at the cobbled classics. The Australian's stint on the front has already helped to reduce the break's lead to 5:21.

 

72km remaining from 167km

The gap has come down quite significantly in the past ten kilometres as Mitchelton-Scott and Quick-Step put their shoulders to the wheel. Foliforov, Mosca and Sagiv have had their lead cut to 4:10.

 

The injection in pace in the peloton coincides with the approach to the first intermediate sprint at Donoratico with 59km to go. They won't reel in the escapees by then, but they might well claw them back ahead of the second bonus sprint when the race reaches Follonica for the first time with 25km to go.

 

67km remaining from 167km

Durbridge continues his shift on the head of the peloton, and the break's lead drops still further to 3:15

 

 

63km remaining from 167km

A reminder of the situation: Alexander Foliforov (Gazprom-Rusvelo), Guy Sagiv (Israel Cycling Academy) and Jacopo Mosca (Wilier-Selle Italia) are our escapees, and they hold a swiftly diminishing lead of 3:10 over the peloton as they approach the first intermediate sprint in Donoratico.

 

59km remaining from 167km

Mosca takes the intermediate sprint in Donoratico ahead of Sagiv and Foliforov. Donoratico normally hosts big-time cycling a little earlier in the year than mid-March, but sadly the GP Costa degli Etruschi - Italian cycling's season-opener since 1996 - was not held this year due to a lack of finances. The organisers hope the race will return in 2019.

 

The peloton trundles through the same point a little under three minutes behind the trio of escapees.

 

52km remaining from 167km

The pace has abated slightly in the peloton, and the gap to the escapees has stabilised at around 2:45. Quick-Step, Mitchelton-Scott and Katusha-Alpecin are all happy to collaborate in a bid to ensure a bunch finish in Follonica.

 

50km remaining from 167km

Into the final 50 kilometres for the three leaders, who have lost another clump of seconds. So much for a stable gap, it now stands at 2:20.

 

47km remaining from 167km

The break's lead drops inside of two minutes, and the may well peg the three leaders back before the second intermediate sprint with 25km to go. There are 3 bonus seconds on offer at the sprint, and then 10 for the stage winner. Of the recognised fast men, Fernando Gaviria (19th at 15 seconds) is closest to Caruso's overall lead, so - assuming this stage follows the expected script - the blue jersey should stay with BMC this afternoon. Rohan Dennis, Paddy Bevin and Greg Van Avermaet, incidentally, are all on the same time as their teammate Caruso atop the overall standings. 

 

41km remaining from 167km

Luke Durbridge returns to the front for Mitchelton-Scott. The Australian suffered a broken collarbone at the national championships in January but he was back in action at the Opening Weekend in Belgium. He has cut the break's lead to 1:38 here.

 

38km remaining from 167km

Quick-Step, Katusha and Mitchelton-Scott have this situation very much in hand. Foliforov, Mosca and Sagiv are battling gamely, but their advantage is crumpling gently, and now stands at 1:30.

 

33km remaining from 167km

Niki Terpstra is prominent at the head of the field. We are just eight kilometres from the second intermediate sprint, and Quick-Step may well be minded to try to shut down the break beforehand on behalf of Gaviria. The gap is down to 1:07.

 

A puncture for Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe), who is chasing his way back on. The Pole is on familiar terrain. He raced in Tuscany as an amateur and recently denied any links to the Altopack doping investigation in Italy.

 

31km remaining from 167km

Majka rejoins the bunch, which is just under a minute down on the break. Katusha-Alpecin lead on behalf of Marcel Kittel.

 

29km remaining from 167km

Sagiv leads the break on the approach to the finish town of Follonica. Three laps of an 8.3km finishing circuit await.

 

26km remaining from 167km

40 seconds the gap for Foliforov, Mosca and Sagiv as they hit the finishing circuit. They will survive to contest the intermediate sprint at the first passage through the finish line.

 

25km remaining from 167km

Mosca leads through the intermediate sprint ahead of Sagiv and Foliforov. There are three laps of the 8.3km circuit to go. The bunch hits the same point just 33 seconds back.

 

23km remaining from 167km

Katusha and Trek-Segafredo are prominent at the head of the peloton as it navigates the first lap of this circuit. The intensity is going to keep ratcheting upwards from here on in.

 

21km remaining from 167km

Finishing circuits in Italian races can be fraught affairs, and the bunch splits either side of a set of barriers... Let's just say they'll be glad to have had a sighter before doing this for keeps in two laps' time.

 

21km remaining from 167km

A respite from the traffic furniture, and the bunch reunites. 27 seconds their deficit on the three leaders.

 

19km remaining from 167km

Trek-Segafredo are prominent towards the head of the bunch. It's interesting to note Fabio Aru (UAE-Team Emirates) tucked in near the front amid a phalanx of teammates.

 

There's a left-hand turn from wide to narrower road with a little under 3 kilometres to go on this circuit, and one imagines that will be pivotal on the final lap.

 

16km remaining from 167km

Foliforov, Mosca and Sagiv hit the finish line for the second time with a lead of just 14 seconds. The peloton is breathing down upon them with two laps to go.

 

15km remaining from 167km

The break's lead hovers at around 12 seconds. The technicality of this finishing circuit is helping the escapees to fend off the bunch for the time being, but they surely won't last too much longer.

 

13km remaining from 167km

Mitchelton-Scott mass to the front in support of Caleb Ewan. Foliforov puts in a big turn on the front of the break, but their lead is down to 10 seconds.

 

12km remaining from 167km

Mosca, Sagiv and Foliforov finally relent and they are swallowed by the peloton. Gruppo compatto.

 

Luke Durbridge (Mitchelton-Scott) hits the front once again on behalf of Caleb Ewan. The Australian has impressed this afternoon.

 

10km remaining from 167km

Astana hit the front of the bunch en masse. Mitchelton-Scott and BMC are also well represented.

 

9km remaining from 167km

Kittel has plenty of Katusha jerseys for company as they approach the final lap of the circuit.

 

8km remaining from 167km

EF-Drapac and Trek-Segafredo lead the bunch to take the bell on Viale Italia. One lap remaining.

 

A delegation from Lotto Soudal hits the front in support of Jens Debusschere. In keeping with the tenor of bunch finishes this season, this looks like being a free-for-all. No one team will manage to control this.

 

7km remaining from 167km

A crash in the peloton has held up all bar around 30 riders. We look set for a reduced bunch sprint and any number of GC riders could lose significant time here.

 

Damiano Caruso (BMC) is still in this front group, which looks to be around 40 riders strong. Peter Sagan and Fernandro Gaviria are also in here.

 

6km remaining from 167km

Caruso and Sagan bump elbows in this front group but both manage to stay upright. Ewan and Kittel are also here, as Ryan Mullen leads for Trek-Segafredo.

 

4km remaining from 167km

An impressive cameo from Mullen, who keeps the pace high on the front. Geraint Thomas is in this group for Team Sky. We await news of the other GC contenders.

 

3km remaining from 167km

This front group looks to have expanded slightly. A group of riders who were held up look to have closed the gap. We'll account for the GC men at the finish, for now it's all about the inevitable bunch sprint.

 

2km remaining from 167km

Trek-Segafredo lead the bunch into the final two kilometres. EF-Drapac are also prominent on behalf of Sacha Modolo.

 

1km remaining from 167km

The Katusha train is a little fractured, but Kittel has plenty of riders around him still as the race hits the flamme rouge.

 

Katusha-Alpecin lead out the sprint for Kittel...

 

KIttel has to go from a long, long way. Sagan is on his wheel...

 

Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin) wins stage 2 of Tirreno-Adriatico.

 

Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) took second place ahead of Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo).

 

Rick Zabel produced a long, long lead-out, but Kittel showed considerable strength to hold off Sagan, who was perched on his wheel as the sprint began.

 

Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky) placed 4th ahead of Patrick Bevin (BMC), who will inherit the blue leader's jersey from his teammate Damiano Caruso.

 

Fernando Gaviria could only manage 7th in a chaotic sprint, just behind Jakub Mareczko.

 

Result:

1 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
3 Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
4 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky
5 Patrick Bevin (NZl) BMC Racing Team
6 Jakub Mareczko (Ita) Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia
7 Fernando Gaviria (Col) Quick-Step Floors
8 Danny van Poppel (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
9 Eduard Micheal Grosu (Ven) Nippo Vini Fantini
10 Simone Consonni (Ita) UAE Team Emirates

 

Result:

 

1 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
3 Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
4 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky
5 Patrick Bevin (NZl) BMC Racing Team
6 Jakub Mareczko (Ita) Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia
7 Fernando Gaviria (Col) Quick-Step Floors
8 Danny van Poppel (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
9 Eduard Micheal Grosu (Rom) Nippo Vini Fantini
10 Simone Consonni (Ita) UAE Team Emirates

 

General classification after stage 2:

        

1 Patrick Bevin (NZl) BMC Racing Team 4:34:43
2 Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing Team
3 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team
4 Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team
5 Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton-Scott 0:00:04
6 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky 0:00:09
7 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky
8 Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Team Sky
9 Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky
10 Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Team Sky

 

It looks as though most of the GC contenders managed to emerge unscathed from that crash in the finale and finish in the front group. Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) was involved, however, and he has dropped away from his position near the head of the overall standings.

 

Marcel Kittel speaks: "I’ve been waiting a long time for this victory now. Since the beginning of the season not everything was always working perfect and we tried very hard, and finally we got this victory as a reward. I’m very happy, the team did a very good job today. I have to say a big, big thank you to everyone for helping me. I think this is a big boost for the whole group."

 

This was, incidentally, Kittel's first ever professional victory in Italy. His four Giro stage wins have all come in the opening days of foreign starts - he won a brace in Ireland in 2014 and added a pair in the Netherlands in 2016. His last win on Italian roads came as an amateur in 2008, in the Memorial Davide Fardelli time trial, when he beat Alan Marangoni and Adriano Malori over 23km.

 

“I’m very happy because this is my first professional victory in Italy, and that makes me proud,” Kittel says, noting that it’s also his first in Katusha red. “It’s always a mental challenge to deal with this, but I benefit from the years I’ve been a professional, with all the experience I’m able to handle this situation. I was always motivated every race, but in the first races this year not everything was going well, which is normal and expected. This is a big relief now. I’m very happy to win in Tirreno, it’s a big race, a big first victory for me this season and the whole team.”

 

Patrick Bevin (BMC) speaks after taking hold of the blue jersey: "It kind of just came about. It's a stage where we didn't have to work, my teammates kind of teed me up to have a sprint, we don't have a guy to sprint and they were keen to have me have a go in the final. I got caught behind that crash on the final lap and only just got back on but had a pretty good go through the bunch as it was spread out. It's a weird feeling to take a jersey off a teammate but the plan for the week doesn't change.

"It's a really nice feeling, like I said it's a really weird feeling to take a jersey off a teammate, especially one that's here to lead the race. I don't mind babysitting it for a day but as we hit tomorrow nothing changes."

 

 

Stefan Kung (BMC) was among the fallers in the crash, and he went to hospital for a check-up after the stage finish.

 

Over at Paris-Nice, meanwhile, Jerome Cousin has won stage 5, while Luis Leon Sanchez retains the overall lead. The details are here.

 

 

 

Result:


1 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin 4:12:24
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
3 Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
4 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky
5 Patrick Bevin (NZl) BMC Racing Team
6 Jakub Mareczko (Ita) Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia
7 Fernando Gaviria (Col) Quick-Step Floors
8 Danny van Poppel (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
9 Eduard Micheal Grosu (Rom) Nippo Vini Fantini
10 Simone Consonni (Ita) UAE Team Emirates


General classification after stage 2:


1 Patrick Bevin (NZl) BMC Racing Team 4:34:43
2 Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing Team
3 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team
4 Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team
5 Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton-Scott 0:00:04
6 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky 0:00:09
7 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky
8 Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Team Sky
9 Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky
10 Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Team Sky

 

 

Thanks for joining our live coverage of Tirreno-Adriatico this afternoon. You can find a full report, results and pictures here. We'll be back with more tomorrow, and in the meantime all the news and reaction from Follonica will be on Cyclingnews.

 

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