Tirreno-Adriatico: Kittel takes out penultimate stage

Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin) claimed his second victory of the 2018 Tirreno-Adriatico on Monday, beating Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) to the line on stage 6 after a messy run-in to Fano on the Adriatic coast.

Max Richeze finished third but the Quick-Step Floors lead-out man was only sprinting because Fernando Gaviria had crashed with eight kilometres remaining – an incident that almost took out Sagan himself.

Sagan was right behind Gaviria when the Colombian touched the wheel in front of him and sparked a pile-up in the middle of the bunch. Somehow, in a feat of bike handling you sense few others would be capable of, the world champion stayed upright, though he now faced a battle just to be able to contest the expected sprint finish.

After changing his rear wheel, which was broken by the rider behind him, Sagan chased back on, but that was only half the battle as he then proceeded to bunny hop roundabouts and seek the riskiest lines in order to haul himself towards the front of a reduced peloton that was by now in full swing.

Sagan perhaps paid for those efforts as he opened up his sprint from Kittel's slipstream. He started to draw up alongside the German but was never able to overhaul him, and the result goes down as a repeat of stage 2. It's the second victory of this race and of 2018 for Kittel, whose early-season woes are now a distant memory.

"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 then they said it was Gaviria," Kittel said of the crash.

"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."

The 153-kilometre penultimate stage from Numana to Fano represented a stall in hostilities in the battle for the overall title, and indeed there was no change in the general classification.

Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) finished safely in the peloton to retain his overall lead, with none of the overall contenders caught up in that crash with Gaviria, though Romain Bardet (AG2R) lost 45 seconds as a result and slipped from 12th to 14th. Moments earlier, Geraint Thomas, who lost the overall lead on stage 4 due to a jammed chain, suffered another mechanical, though he was able to re-join the peloton with the help of Gianni Moscon and Chris Froome.

Ahead of Tuesday's final-day time trial, Kwiatkowski retains a buffer of three seconds over BMC's Damiano Caruso but the Pole had tried to make it more. The stage finished with two laps of a 12.6km circuit, and the first passage of the finish line doubled as an intermediate sprint point, with time bonuses of three, two, and one seconds for the first three riders across the line.

Marcus Burghardt (Bora-Hansgrohe), the last survivor of the day's breakaway, mopped up the first three but when Kwiatkowski went for what was left, Caruso, rather than getting involved himself, sent teammates Greg Van Avermaet and Patrick Bevin to beat him to the line and take the seconds away.

"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," said Kwiatkowski. "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."

How it unfolded

A bunch sprint was always the most likely outcome in Fano but that didn't deter the early breakaway hopefuls. In the opening kilometres Burghardt went clear with Krists Neilands (Israel Cycling Academy), Jacopo Mosca (Wilier-Selle Italia) and Artem Nych (Gazprom-Rusvelo).

They built a lead of around 3:30 as the race drifted along at a sedate pace of less than 35kph.

There were two categorised climbs on the 153km route, and Mosca claimed maximum points at the first, at Offagna, after 36 kilometres. The Italian was, however, more concerned about the intermediate sprint positioned between the two climbs, and he duly swept up the points to ensure himself another day in the orange jersey.

The second climb, to Ostra came after 75km just shy of the half-way mark, but it nevertheless saw the complexion of the race change. Burghardt led the way and soon found himself opening a gap on his companions. Leading over the KOM point and onto the short descent, he decided to go it alone.

Such was his superiority, he managed to increase his lead over his three former companions, while keeping the peloton at bay. With 46km remaining, Mosca, Nych, and Neilands were swept up by the peloton but the German champion still had 3:20.

Burghardt led onto the finishing circuit and crossed the line with a minute's advantage and 25km remaining, though he would fade rather suddenly in the end and was caught with 19km left.

After an innocuous crash caused by a piece of traffic furniture forced Wilier's Jakub Mareczko to change bikes, the first lap passed relatively quietly, with Quick-Step Floors positioned en masse at the head of the peloton.

With just over 10km to go Thomas suffered his mechanical. He was still chasing when Gaviria, a favourite for the stage win, touched the wheel in front of him and hit the deck, causing several others to go down with him. Israel Cycling Academy's Guillaume Boivin looked particularly uncomfortable but finished the stage, as did Gaviria, though x-rays would later confirm a broken metacarpal in his left hand.

Gaviria's absence sewed confusion in the closing kilometres as Quick-Step were forced to reassess. They decided Zdenek Stybar would lead out Richeze, though other teams like Katusha were able to have their say in the build-up to the sprint.

Quick-Step, however, found their way back to the front in time for the tight right-hand bend with 400 metres remaining. Bob Jungels led the way, followed by Stybar, and then Richeze. It was a textbook lead-out but Richeze didn't have the speed of Gaviria, and Kittel calmly made his way past.

Sagan nearly provided what would have been, given the circumstances, a spectacular twist, but the German held firm for his second win of the week, with growing whispers as to a possible Milan-San Remo debut this weekend.

"There are good reasons to do it but, like I said before, we will decide that the day after Tirreno-Adriatico," said Kittel. "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."

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Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Marcel Kittel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin3:49:54
2Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
3Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Quick-Step Floors
4Sacha Modolo (Ita) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
5Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quick-Step Floors
6Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Soudal
7Marco Canola (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini
8Simone Consonni (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
9Eduard Grosu (Rom) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini
10Rick Zabel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin
11Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
12Danny van Poppel (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
13Marc Sarreau (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
14Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
15Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky
16Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky
17August Jensen (Nor) Israel Cycling Academy
18Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
19Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal
20Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team
21Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott
22Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing Team
23Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
24Daniele Bennati (Ita) Movistar Team
25Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar Team
26George Bennett (NZl) LottoNL-Jumbo
27Jaime Roson (Spa) Movistar Team
28Jack Bauer (NZl) Mitchelton-Scott
29Gijs Van Hoecke (Bel) LottoNL-Jumbo
30Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team
31Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors
32Fabio Aru (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
33Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe
34Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
35Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data
36Simone Ponzi (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini
37Andrey Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team
38Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors
39Louis Meintjes (RSA) Dimension Data
40Kristijan Koren (Slo) Bahrain-Merida
41Iljo Keisse (Bel) Quick-Step Floors
42Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Israel Cycling Academy
43Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team
44Scott Thwaites (GBr) Dimension Data
45Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
46Antoine Duchesne (Can) Groupama-FDJ
47Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton-Scott
48Ivan Santaromita (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini
49Marco Marcato (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
50Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) Bahrain-Merida
51Simon Clarke (Aus) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
52Julien Vermote (Bel) Dimension Data
53Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro Team
54Davide Villella (Ita) Astana Pro Team
55Ryan Mullen (Irl) Trek-Segafredo
56Daniel Oss (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe
57Niki Terpstra (Ned) Quick-Step Floors
58Nikolas Maes (Bel) Lotto Soudal
59Jakub Mareczko (Ita) Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia
60Boy van Poppel (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
61Jos van Emden (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
62Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
63Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Lotto Soudal
64Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
65Oscar Gatto (Ita) Astana Pro Team
66Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo
67Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana Pro Team
68Matthias Brändle (Aut) Trek-Segafredo
69Stepan Kuriyanov (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo
70Jan Polanc (Slo) UAE Team Emirates
71Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Team Sky
72Luke Durbridge (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
73Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:00:45
74Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:00:50
75Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
76Steve Morabito (Swi) Groupama-FDJ
77Damiano Cunego (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini
78Sergey Firsanov (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo
79Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo0:00:57
80Nikolai Cherkasov (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo0:01:04
81Aleksandr Riabushenko (Blr) UAE Team Emirates
82Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
83Primoz Roglic (Slo) LottoNL-Jumbo0:01:05
84Alex Dowsett (GBr) Katusha-Alpecin
85Matteo Busato (Ita) Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia
86Mathias Frank (Swi) AG2R La Mondiale0:01:11
87Alexandre Geniez (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
88Edoardo Zardini (Ita) Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia0:01:16
89Igor Boev (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo0:01:18
90Alexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:01:27
91Benoit Vaugrenard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ0:01:29
92Tony Martin (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin
93Davide Cimolai (Ita) Groupama-FDJ0:01:40
94Alberto Bettiol (Ita) BMC Racing Team0:01:47
95Clement Venturini (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:01:49
96Tomasz Marczynski (Pol) Lotto Soudal0:01:52
97Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Team Sky
98Jorge Arcas (Spa) Movistar Team0:01:58
99Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Sunweb
100Jasha Sütterlin (Ger) Movistar Team
101Krists Neilands (Lat) Israel Cycling Academy0:02:11
102Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
103Nathan Haas (Aus) Katusha-Alpecin0:02:24
104Michael Hepburn (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
105Nelson Oliveira (Por) Movistar Team0:02:55
106Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia0:03:39
107Marco Coledan (Ita) Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia
108Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana Pro Team
109Nicola Bagioli (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini
110Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha-Alpecin
111Stefan Küng (Swi) BMC Racing Team
112Filippo Ganna (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
113Alexander Foliforov (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo
114Jacopo Mosca (Ita) Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia
115Daniel Hoelgaard (Nor) Groupama-FDJ
116José Gonçalves (Por) Katusha-Alpecin
117Marcus Burghardt (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe0:04:31
118Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
119Luka Mezgec (Slo) Mitchelton-Scott
120Patrick Bevin (NZl) BMC Racing Team
121Julien Duval (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
122Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team
123Lennard Kämna (Ger) Team Sunweb
124Fernando Gaviria (Col) Quick-Step Floors
125Sho Hatsuyama (Jpn) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini
126Maarten Wynants (Bel) LottoNL-Jumbo
127Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
128Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky
129Gianni Moscon (Ita) Team Sky0:04:54
130Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Team Sky
131Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:05:24
132Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team0:07:15
133Taylor Phinney (USA) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
134Guy Sagiv (Isr) Israel Cycling Academy0:07:55
135Dennis van Winden (Ned) Israel Cycling Academy
136Chad Haga (USA) Team Sunweb0:08:36
137Artem Nych (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo
138Liam Bertazzo (Ita) Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia
139Guillaume Boivin (Can) Israel Cycling Academy0:08:38
DNSLeopold Konig (Cze) Bora-Hansgrohe
DNSWilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb
DNFRamunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Bahrain-Merida
DNFBen Hermans (Bel) Israel Cycling Academy
DNFRobert Wagner (Ger) LottoNL-Jumbo
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Points
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Marcel Kittel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin12pts
2Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe10
3Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Quick-Step Floors8
4Sacha Modolo (Ita) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale7
5Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quick-Step Floors6
6Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Soudal5
7Marco Canola (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini4
8Simone Consonni (Ita) UAE Team Emirates3
9Eduard Grosu (Rom) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini2
10Rick Zabel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin1
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Sprint 1
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jacopo Mosca (Ita) Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia5pts
2Artem Nych (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo3
3Marcus Burghardt (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe2
4Krists Neilands (Lat) Israel Cycling Academy1
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Sprint 2
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Marcus Burghardt (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe5pts
2Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team3
3Patrick Bevin (NZl) BMC Racing Team2
4Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky1
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Mountain 1 - Offagna, km 36.2)
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jacopo Mosca (Ita) Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia5pts
2Krists Neilands (Lat) Israel Cycling Academy3
3Artem Nych (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo2
4Marcus Burghardt (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe1
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Mountain 2 - Ostra, km 75.8)
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Marcus Burghardt (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe5pts
2Krists Neilands (Lat) Israel Cycling Academy3
3Jacopo Mosca (Ita) Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia2
4Artem Nych (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo1
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Teams
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Quick-Step Floors11:29:42
2Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini
3LottoNL-Jumbo
4Bahrain-Merida
5UAE Team Emirates
6Movistar Team
7EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
8Lotto Soudal
9Bora-Hansgrohe
10Mitchelton-Scott
11Team Sky
12Groupama-FDJ
13Dimension Data
14Astana Pro Team
15Trek-Segafredo
16Gazprom-Rusvelo0:00:50
17Katusha-Alpecin0:01:05
18BMC Racing Team0:01:47
19Israel-Cycling Academy0:02:11
20Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia0:02:21
21AG2R La Mondiale0:03:12
22Team Sunweb0:15:05
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General classification after stage 6
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky25:21:22
2Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing Team0:00:03
3Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar Team0:00:23
4Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky0:00:29
5Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale0:00:34
6Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott0:00:36
7Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe0:00:37
8Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:00:39
9George Bennett (NZl) LottoNL-Jumbo0:00:41
10Jaime Roson (Spa) Movistar Team0:00:47
11Fabio Aru (Ita) UAE Team Emirates0:01:19
12Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida0:01:20
13Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida0:01:42
14Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:01:43
15Louis Meintjes (RSA) Dimension Data0:02:24
16Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana Pro Team0:02:42
17Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team0:02:50
18Ivan Santaromita (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini0:03:45
19Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors0:03:51
20Jan Polanc (Slo) UAE Team Emirates0:04:01
21Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team0:04:17
22Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates0:05:55
23Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) Bahrain-Merida0:06:04
24Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha-Alpecin0:07:05
25Edoardo Zardini (Ita) Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia0:07:37
26Sergey Firsanov (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo0:07:55
27Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors0:07:59
28José Gonçalves (Por) Katusha-Alpecin0:08:38
29Steve Morabito (Swi) Groupama-FDJ0:08:52
30Primoz Roglic (Slo) LottoNL-Jumbo0:09:03
31Davide Villella (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:10:08
32Simon Clarke (Aus) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale0:10:33
33Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek-Segafredo0:12:07
34Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro Team0:13:01
35Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky0:13:31
36Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe0:14:44
37Mathias Frank (Swi) AG2R La Mondiale0:14:48
38Julien Vermote (Bel) Dimension Data0:15:33
39Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team0:16:37
40Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:17:23
41Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quick-Step Floors0:17:38
42Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) Groupama-FDJ0:18:14
43Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe0:18:51
44Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo0:18:53
45Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton-Scott0:19:43
46Tony Martin (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin0:19:45
47Luke Durbridge (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott0:19:50
48Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Team Sky0:20:07
49Nathan Haas (Aus) Katusha-Alpecin0:21:28
50Jack Bauer (NZl) Mitchelton-Scott0:21:46
51Daniel Oss (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe0:22:04
52Nelson Oliveira (Por) Movistar Team0:22:43
53Simone Ponzi (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini0:22:57
54Gianni Moscon (Ita) Team Sky0:23:20
55Scott Thwaites (GBr)