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Tirreno-Adriatico 2018: Stage 6

145km remaining from 153km

As we pick up the action in the opening kilometres, a group of four riders has already clipped off the front. Marcus Burghardt (Bora-Hansgrohe), Krists Neilands (Israel Cycling Academy), Jacopo Mosca (Wilier-Selle Italia) and Artem Nych (Gazprom-Rusvelo) escaped in the opening kilometre, and have established a lead over the peloton.

Today's stage to Fano on the Adriatic coast looks set to be one for the sprinters. World champion Peter Sagan has stolen something of a march on his fellow fast men by placing his teammate Marcus Burghardt in this early break.

 

Conditions were overcast but dry at the start in Numana, but there is the distinct possibility of stormy, wet conditions before the finish in Fano. Ordinarily, today's stage shouldn't have much of an effect on the overall standings, but anything can happen on any given day in Tirreno-Adriatico, especially if the weather turns. 

 

The general classification is as follows after five stages:

 

1 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky 21:31:28
2 Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing Team 0:00:03
3 Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:23
4 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:29
5 Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale 0:00:34
6 Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 0:00:36
7 Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:37
8 Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:00:39
9 George Bennett (NZl) LottoNL-Jumbo 0:00:41
10 Jaime Roson (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:47

 

140km remaining from 153km

Mosca has been a nigh-on fixed presence in the early break at this Tirreno-Adriatico, while Israel Cycling Academy and Gazprom-Rusvelo have also been regular contributors to the early escapes. The quartet has a lead of 2:45 over the peloton.

 

Away from Tirreno-Adriatico, ASO has announced this morning that Nice will host the Grand Depart of the 2020 Tour de France. It will be only the second time that Nice has hosted the Tour start, the last occasion being in 1981. The full story will follow soon on Cyclingnews.

 

Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) moved into the blue jersey of race leader on yesterday's stage to Filottrano, and the Pole is confident that he can defend his advantage over Damiano Caruso (BMC) and Mikel Landa (Movistar) in tomorrow's traditional closing time trial in San Benedetto del Tronto. "Last year I was aiming to be in best shape for the Ardennes and then I won the first monument in my life at Milan-San Remo and the amazing race Strade Bianche," Kwiatkowksi said. "When the opportunities are there, you have to take them, as I've done here."

 

 

Kwiatkowski's teammate Geraint Thomas had worn the leader's jersey into Saturday's stage to Sarnano Sassotetto, but a mechanical problem on the final climb saw him lose all hope of final overall victory. "I'm certainly still grieving a bit. I don't know what the stages are of grief, but I'm still pretty angry," Thomas said yesterday. Read the full story here.

 

129km remaining from 153km

The escapees have extended their advantage to 3:30 over the peloton. The terrain is rolling in the opening half of the stage, and includes the climbs of Offagna and Ostra, but the road flattens out considerably in the finale, which features two laps of a 12.8km finishing circuit around Fano.

 

Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) pictured ahead of the start in Numana a little earlier:

 

Yesterday's stage saw the town of Filottrano pay tribute to its most famous son, the late Michele Scarponi, who was tragically killed while training last April. Stephen Farrand wrote this account of the occasion.

 

113km remaining from 153km

While Tirreno-Adriatico is yet to be resolved, a breathless edition of Paris-Nice came to a finish yesterday with Marc Soler (Movistar) emerging the overall winner. The Catalan was aggressive on the final stage to Nice and divested Simon Yates of the yellow jersey. David de la Cruz won the final stage for the second successive year. Read a full report here.

 

Mosca led the break over the day's first climb of Offagna, though he has designs on a different competion: the Italian wears the orange jersey of points classification leader.

 

110km remaining from 153km

There is no particular urgency in the peloton, which is being led by LottoNL-Jumbo and Katusha-Alpecin, but the break's lead has dropped to two minutes. A light drizzle has been falling over the peloton but it appears to be abating as the race heads northwards towards Fano.

 

105km remaining from 153km

The four escapees have again stretched their lead out to three minutes over a peloton, which is content to grant them their freedom. It's been a relatively calm start to proceedings, with just 33.9km covered in the first hour of racing.

 

94km remaining from 153km

Jacopo Mosca (Wilier-Selle Italia) claims the intermediate sprint at Jesi to cement his hold on the points jersey. The peloton trails by 3:22 through the same point.

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The sun is poking through the clouds and the roads are drying off as the break heads towards San Marcello. The threat of bad weather in the latter part of the stage seems to be abating.

 

Peter Sagan has two second places to his name thus far on Tirreno-Adriatico, on two very different kinds of the finish, and the world champion is among the contenders for the honours in Fano this afternoon. He won the battle for second behind Adam Yates in Filottrano yesterday. "I came to Filottrano for Michele's funeral last year, and so I wanted to remember Michele by winning the stage. It would have been nice, but that's racing and Michele would understand that too. Each race is different and Yates was very strong. He went away alone, stayed away, and so you can only congratulate him," Sagan said. Read the full story here.

 

84km remaining from 153km

Katusha and LottoNL-Jumbo continue to set the pace at the head of the bunch, 3 minutes behind the break, but there is no real intensity in their chase for the time being. The race is running some way behind the slowest estimated schedule in this early part of the stage.

 

79km remaining from 153km

The break is on the climb of Ostra, where Burghardt's tempo has seen him open a small advantage over his fellow escapees.

 

77km remaining from 153km

Burghardt leads through the king of the mountains banner at Ostra with an advantage over his companions. The German champion doesn't relent over the other side, and Mosca, Nych and Neilands might have to work to catch back up.

 

The break passes through the hilltop town of Ostra with a deficit of 3:11 on the lone leader Burghardt, who has stretched out his advantage over the rest of the break on the descent. The German is committed to this solo move.

 

70km remaining from 153km

Burghardt continues to pile on the pressure, and stretches his lead over Mosca, Nych and Neilands out to 50 seconds. The German has 3:20 in hand on the peloton, where Marcel Kittel's Katusha squad and Danny van Poppel's LottoNL-Jumbo still lead.

 

It's been a comfortable afternoon to date for overall leader Michal Kwiatkowski, whose Sky team have not been pressed into action to defend his blue jersey.

 

66km remaining from 153km

Burghardt approaches Croce with an extended lead over the bunch. The gap now stands at 3:45 and Fernando Gaviria's Quick-Step team have, as a consequence, decided to join the chase effort in the peloton.

 

63km remaining from 153km

Philippe Gilbert comes through to take a turn on the front of the peloton for Quick-Step Floors. Peter Sagan, meanwhile, has divested himself of his black jacket and is back in his white world champion's jersey as he paces back up to the bunch with Maciej Bodnar.

 

Gilbert's immediate task is to peg back Burghardt on behalf of Gaviria. In the longer term, he is testing his legs ahead of Milan-San Remo, his first objective of a jam-packed spring campaign, where a tilt at Paris-Roubaix is the other major target. "It's a big motivation for me. Even if it's a crazy dream, it's possible," Gilbert said in January. Patrick Fletcher has the full story here.

 

56km remaining from 153km

Neilands, Nych and Mosca are swapping turns in a bid to close the gap to Burghardt, but they seem to be making little inroads into the advantage of the German champion. The gap from Burghardt to the bunch, meanwhile, is 3:55.

 

The chasers are, in fact, conceding ground to Burghardt and are going nowhere fast. Mosca and company are 2:15 behind Burghardt and surely won't stay out ahead of the peloton too much longer.

 

49km remaining from 153km

Into the final 50 kilometres for Burghardt, who reaches San Costanzo with a lead of 3:36 over the peloton. The skies have darkened once again, but the rain is holding off for the time being.

 

The entry into the final 50 kilometres has roused spirits in the peloton, where the pace seems to have edged up a notch or two.

 

46km remaining from 153km

Mosca, Neilands and Nych are swept up by the peloton. Burghardt is the sole survivor off the front of the race, and the German champion's lead stands at 3:20.

 

44km remaining from 153km

Gilbert is still to the fore in the main peloton, and the Belgian has helped to chip a few seconds off Burghardt's lead, which now stands at 3:05.

 

42km remaining from 153km

Peter Sagan draws up alongside Philippe Gilbert and waves in admonishment at the television camera. The world champion feels the motorbike was so close to the bunch that it was helping to pace the pursuit of his teammate Burghardt. Suitably chastened, the motorbike puts some additional distance between itself and the peloton. 2:40 the gap to Burghardt.

 

39km remaining from 153km

Burghardt is showing no sign of weakening, but the increased urgency in the peloton is gradually winnowing away his advantage, which now stands at 2:30.

 

The GC contenders are all beginning to move up in the peloton on the approach to the finishing circuit in Fano. There is little scope for attackers here, but the risk of crashes and splits is patent in the finale. Rigoberto Uran (EF-Drapac) is among those in contention for a podium berth, and the Colombian lies just 11 seconds off Mikel Landa's third place. "I'm going to try and give it everything, but it's going to be really hard to get on the podium because everyone ahead of me is a strong rider," Uran said yesterday. Read the full story here.

 

35km remaining from 153km

A puncture for Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), who gets a rapid bike change and begins to chase back on.

 

32km remaining from 153km

LottoNL-Jumbo pile on the pressure at the head of the bunch and another clump of seconds are shaved from Burghardt's advantage, which has dropped inside two minutes.

 

31km remaining from 153km

A crash in the peloton brings down Jakub Mareczko (Wilier-Selle Italia), August Jensen (Israel Cycling Academy) and Jan Polanc (UAE-Team Emirates). All three remount, but this will surely be very detrimental to Mareczko's chances in the sprint.

 

A replay shows that Jensen came down after touching shoulders with Chris Froome (Team Sky). Froome is riding Tirreno-Adriatico with a verdict still pending over his adverse analytical finding for salbutamol at last year's Vuelta a Espana.

 

27km remaining from 153km

The bunch is on the finishing circuit and heading towards its first passage through the finish line in Fano. There is a considerable amount of traffic furniture on these roads.

 

25km remaining from 153km

Burghardt crosses the line in Fano with two laps of the 12.6km circuit to go. The final kilometres are rather technical, with a late right-hand bend that might cause issues ahead of the inevitable bunch sprint.

 

There is an intermediate sprint on the passage through the finish line, with bonus seconds on offer. Burghardt takes the 3 seconds for first place, and now Kwiatkowski opens his sprint in a bid to augment his overall buffer.

 

Fine work from BMC to deny Kwiatkowski any bonus seconds. Damiano Caruso is not noted for his speed, but Greg Van Avermaet and Paddy Bevin contested the sprint for second and third, and both men squeezed out Kwiatkowski, whose lead over Caruso remains 3 seconds.

 

23km remaining from 153km

The peloton, meanwhile, has closed to within 1:00 of Burghardt, who is still pedalling smoothly off the front.

 

22km remaining from 153km

Reaching the finishing circuit has quickened pulses in the peloton. The speed rises and Burghardt's lead drops to 29 seconds.

 

21km remaining from 153km

Mareczko had safely latched back on to the peloton, but now the Italian has stopped at the roadside for a bike change.

 

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Burghardt is now finally beginning to betray signs of suffering, and the German champion's lead is tumbling. 15 seconds the gap.

 

19km remaining from 153km

Burghardt's adventure ended a little more quickly than the chasers might have anticipated. The German champion is caught by the peloton, which is being led by Philippe Gilbert. As Burghardt is caught, he exchanges a smile with his former BMC teammate.

 

17km remaining from 153km

Quick-Step and Katusha-Alpecin are massed at the head of the peloton ahead of the anticipated bunch sprint.

 

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Gilbert, Bob Jungels and Zdenek Stybar are all part of the imposing phalanx of Quick-Step riders at the front of the bunch.

 

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Given the fragmented nature of bunch sprints through much of the early part of this season, it's almost something of a throwback to see an entire team of seven riders seated at the head of the peloton, as Quick-Step are doing here.

 

12km remaining from 153km

Gilbert and Jungels lead the bunch to take the bell at the finish line in Fano. There is one lap of the finishing circuit remaining. A strong delegation from Katusha is lined up just behind Quick-Step. Gaviria and Kittel are well represented, while Sagan seems content to float freely for the time being.

 

Sagan has planted himself at the rear of the Quick-Step train and just ahead of Kittel's Katusha lead-out. Other sprint teams are now trying to move up.

 

Another mechanical issue for Geraint Thomas, whose hopes of a podium finish will surely end if he can't get back on here. The Welshman has three Sky teammates with him to help, including Froome and Gianni Moscon.

 

10km remaining from 153km

Gilbert has put in quite a remarkable shift on the front of the bunch today. The Belgian still leads, and Quick-Step can still unleash Jungels in the finale.

 

Kittle doesn't have quite as many Katusha jerseys around him now, but the German is still perched towards the business end of the bunch.

 

8km remaining from 153km

The on-screen graphics show Thomas is 24 seconds behind the front of the bunch, so he won't be too far off catching the rear at this juncture. 

 

7km remaining from 153km

A crash in the peloton has taken down a number of riders, including Fernando Gaviria, the man for whom Quick-Step have been working on the front. Gaviria sits on the crash barrier at the roadside before remountinig. He'll complete the stage but will not be able to sprint. 

 

Gaviria touched the wheel in front of him and came down. Peter Sagan was just behind him but somehow managed to stay upright. A number of riders came down and around two thirds of the peloton seemed to get caught up behind that crash. A reduced group remains in front, though, as was the case on stage 2, it is beginning to expand on the run-in.

 

5km remaining from 153km

Fabio Felline leads the peloton for Trek-Segafredo. Kittel, meanwhile, still has some important supporting riders around him in this front group, which contains at least 80 riders. Kwiatkowski is safely in this front group. Sagan, meanwhile, is on the brink of latching back on.

 

3km remaining from 153km

Sagan has re-joined the front group, as has Geraint Thomas. It's unclear if all of the GC men are accounted for.

 

3km remaining from 153km

Katusha take up the reins at the front on behalf of Kittel. Sagan, meanwhile, is beginning to cut his way through the bunch and move towards the front.

 

2km remaining from 153km

Katusha-Alpecin still lead with Alex Dowsett. Bob Jungels remains well place for Quick-Step, who may look to lead out Max Richeze in Gaviria's absence.

 

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Ryan Mullen takes over for Trek-Segafredo on the front. Sagan, meanwhile, is taking all sorts of risks to move up.

 

1km remaining from 153km

Bob Jungels hits the front under the flamme rouge and puts in a mammoth turn...

 

Jungels leads into the final bend for Quick-Step, with Stybar perched on his wheel...

 

Stybar leads out the sprint, but Kittel and Sagan are poised...

 

Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin) wins stage 6 of Tirreno-Adriatico.

 

Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) came through to take second on the stage after his dramatic late fightback. 

 

Max Richeze (Quick-Step) took third ahead of Sacha Modolo (Education First-Drapac) and Zdenek Stybar (Quick-Step).

 

Quick-Step delivered a perfect lead-out. The one thing missing was their sprinter Fernando Gaviria, who crashed in the finale after clipping a wheel. Richeze deputised as best he could, but he didn't have the power to match Kittel. Sagan takes his third second-place finish of the race, but he came so close to pipping Kittel at the line to confirm that he will, as ever, take beating at Milan-San Remo on Saturday.

 

Result:

 

1 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin 3:49:54
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
3 Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Quick-Step Floors
4 Sacha Modolo (Ita) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
5 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quick-Step Floors
6 Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Soudal
7 Marco Canola (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini
8 Simone Consonni (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
9 Eduard Grosu (Rom) Nippo Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini
10 Rick Zabel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin

 

No change atop the overall standings, where Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky) - another big Milan-San Remo favourite - carries a 3-second lead into tomorrow's final time trial.

 

General classification after stage 6:

        

1 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky 25:21:22
2 Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing Team 0:00:03
3 Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:23
4 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:29
5 Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale 0:00:34
6 Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 0:00:36
7 Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:37
8 Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:00:39
9 George Bennett (NZl) LottoNL-Jumbo 0:00:41
10 Jaime Roson (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:47

 

Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky) speaks: "There was actually a gap between me and Van Avermaet so of course it was difficult to take the bonus seconds but they were there so I was trying at least to take those seconds. In the end I came out with nothing, but if I was going to lose Tirreno-Adriatico by two seconds then I’d be really angry. At the end of the day we have to be really happy with the way the stage went because it was a hectic finale, and we’re still leading the race, so that’s great."

 

Geraint Thomas kept his podium hopes alive despite a late mechanical. The Welshman lies 4th overall, 29 seconds behind his teammate Kwiatkowski, who views Caruso as the biggest threat to his overall lead in San Benedetto del Tronto. "I would be really happy if G could take the overall win, but he’s got some time loss from the mountain finish," Kwiatkowski says."Damiano Caruso is a great time triallist and he’s racing almost at home as an Italian, so it will be difficult to fight against him but at the end of the day I’ll do my best."

 

Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin) on avoiding Gaviria's crash and taking the win, his second of this race: "I was actually just left from Quick-Step. I saw it happening like five metres behind me and I didn’t really know who it was at first but they said it was Gaviria who’d crashed. It’s very unfortunate for him, for his team, but we tried to focus on our goal of the stage win and the sprint, and that worked very good. The boys did a very good job and I’m very very proud. On the team today there was nothing to complain about, we controlled the race, we really had one goal, we worked as one team, everyone gave 110 per cent, and I’m very happy to win this stage for the team."

 

Kittel looks set to make his Milan-San Remo debut on Saturday, but he has yet to make a final decision on his participation. "I think there are two good reasons to do it but, like I said before, we will decide that the day after Tirreno-Adriatico. For now things are looking good but if I go to Milan-San Remo I will go for experience. I’ve never done that race before but for me it’s a dream to go there."

 

 

 

Peter Sagan, incidentally, needed a bike change after he narrowly avoided going down with Gaviria in the finale. Despite that setback, he chased back and came within inches of denying Kittel the win.

 

 

Fernando Gaviria visited the x-ray truck on crossing the finish line, and our man in Fano Stephen Farrand reports that the Colombian sustained a broken metacarpal in his left hand in the crash.

 

Stephen Farrand tells us that Gaviria's injury will require surgery that will keep him off the bike for four weeks. The Colombian will thus miss Milan-San Remo and the entire Classics campaign.

 

You can read more information on Gaviria's injury here. Stephen Farrand will have another update from Fano in due course.

 

Thanks for following our live coverage of stage 6 of Tirreno-Adriatico this afternoon on Cyclingnews. A full report, results and pictures are available here. We'll be back with more from tomorrow's final stage, and in the meantime we'll have all the news and reaction from Fano on Cyclingnews.

 

Result:


1 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin 3:49:54
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
3 Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Quick-Step Floors
4 Sacha Modolo (Ita) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
5 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quick-Step Floors
6 Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Soudal
7 Marco Canola (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini
8 Simone Consonni (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
9 Eduard Grosu (Rom) Nippo Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini
10 Rick Zabel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin

 

 

General classification:


1 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky 25:21:22
2 Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing Team 0:00:03
3 Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:23
4 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:29
5 Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale 0:00:34
6 Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 0:00:36
7 Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:37
8 Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:00:39
9 George Bennett (NZl) LottoNL-Jumbo 0:00:41
10 Jaime Roson (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:47

 

 

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