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Tirreno-Adriatico 2019: Stage 6

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Hello there. It's the penultimate stage of Tirreno-Adriatico and, before the general classification is decided in tomorrow's time trial, today we have a rolling stage from Matelica to Jesi that should still come down to a bunch sprint. 

In the opening kilometres, a seven-man breakaway has gone clear. 

The breakaway riders are:

 

Davide Ballerini (Astana)

Ben King (Dimension Data)

Gijs Van Hoecke (CCC Team)

Mirco Maestri (Bardiani-CSF)

Igor Boev (Gazprom-Rusvelo)

José Joaquin Rojas (Movistar)

Dayer Quintana (Neri Sottoli-Selle Italia-KTM)

 

180km remaining from 195km

After 15km, their lead stands at 3:30.

 

Here's the stage profile. Funnily enough, the Valico di Pietra Rossa is, at 660 metres, the highest point of this year's race. The sprinters may well struggle there, and there's some lumpy terrain afterwards, but the final 50km are flat. The stage will end with three laps of a 12.6km finishing circuit in Jesi.

 

A first shot of the break from the race organisers

If, like me, you weren't able to watch much cycling over the weekend, now's the time to catch up on the key developments at Tirreno-Adriatico. 

 

On Saturday, Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) won in dramatic fashion after breaking away solo with 30km to go, crashing twice, and getting up to win in a four-up sprint. On Sunday, Lutsenko's teammate Jakob Fuglsang won solo as a series of steep climbs created big gaps between the overall contenders. You can find all the info - report, results, photos - at the links below. 

 

Tirreno-Adriatico: Lutsenko takes dramatic stage 4 win

 

Tirreno-Adriatico: Fuglsang solos to victory on stage 5

 

155km remaining from 195km

The pace has picked up in the peloton and the gap to the break has come down to 2:30 after 40km. 

 

The start of the climb up Valico di Pietra Rossa is just around the corner. 

 

The riders covered 41.6km in the first hour, so the pace is reasonably swift. 

 

150km remaining from 195km

The climb starts and the gap continues to fall on the lower slopes. 1:45 now. 

 

Some significant news this morning, in that Total is set to become the new title sponsor of the Direct Energie team and it could happen as early as next month, according to French newspaper L'Equipe. Total are one of the world's six 'Big Oil' companies and recently acquired the Direct Energie company. Could it lead to an increased budget and WorldTour status for Jean-René Bernaudeau's team? Full details here

Bora-Hansgrohe and Deceuninck-QuickStep are the teams dictating the pace in the peloton. 

 

The pace has settled on the climb and the breakaway riders are gaining ground once more. 2:20 is the gap now.

 

142km remaining from 195km

The breakaway riders reach the top of the climb and it's Boev who helps himself to the maximum KOM points, ahead of Quintana, Ballerini, and then Rojas. 

The peloton comes over the top of the climb 2:38 in arrears. 

 

The riders are hurtling downhill at the moment but they'll soon be heading back uphill.

 

It's been an interesting couple of weeks in anti-doping, with the first tests for tramadol carried out at Paris-Nice and the uncovering of a blood doping ring in Germany and Austria, which has already drawn confessions from two pro cyclists. 

 

Our top story today is an interview with Team Sunweb doctor Anko Boelens, who talks about those issues and also about his team's determination to stay well clear of the grey areas. "We happily accept that there's a chance we hurt ourselves sportingly," he says. "Call it idealism. We feel that's more important. Idealism is more important than all-out success." 

 

You can read the full interview at this link

 

More news this morning in that contract talks between Vincenzo Nibali and Bahrain-Merida have stalled. 

 

"We're still sitting where we were about a month ago," team manager Brent Copeland told us this morning, adding that he believes Nibali has met with Trek-Segafredo management during Tirreno. Full story from Daniel Benson is here

 

Back in the race, with 75km on the clock the gap between the seven escapees and the peloton has stabilised at 2:30. The riders have come over the uncategorised climb at Apiro and are heading mostly downhill for the next 15km. 

 

This is how the general classification stands, by the way. It's unlikely that will change today. 

 

1 Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 20:33:48
2 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma 0:00:25
3 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 0:00:35
4 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:01:55
5 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:02:34
6 Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky 0:02:39
7 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:02:46
8 Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:02:58
9 Simon Clarke (Aus) EF Education First 0:03:03
10 Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates 0:03:26

 

The big question tomorrow will be whether 25 seconds will be enough for Yates, with Roglic waiting in the wings. The Mitchelton-Scott rider doesn't sound too confident, saying: "In my mind, it's not enough."

 

Adam Yates plays down his chances of winning Tirreno-Adriatico

 

108km remaining from 195km

As for today's stage, it's all calm out there, with a stable gap between the seven escapees and the peloton, where the teams controlling the pace give us an indication of the favourites for the victory in Jesi. 

 

Elia Viviani's Deceuninck-QuickStep and Peter Sagan's Bora-Hansgrohe men have been doing the bulk of the heavy lifting, with Fernando Gaviria's UAE Team Emirates also now sending a couple of riders to the front. Viviani won ahead of Sagan and Gaviria on stage 3 in the only bunch sprint we've had so far. 

 

A shot of the peloton from the race organisers.

100km remaining from 195km

With 100km to go, the gap has come down slightly and now stands at two minutes. 

 

Lunch time. The breakaway riders hit the feed zone.

 

94km remaining from 195km

The riders in the peloton have relaxed as they make their way through the contents of their musettes, and the gap has gone back out to 2:30. 

 

Here's a shot of the finish line

 

Work in progress sul traguardo di Jesi della #TirrenoAdriatico NAMEDSPORT> 2019. Chi si aggiudicherà l’ultima tappa in linea della corsa dei due mari?#NamedSport #StayTrained #Cycling #Ciclismo pic.twitter.com/7ppkirJyyh

Lunch has been digested and the pace is back up in the peloton. Still it's QuickStep and Bora leading the way ahead of Yates and his Mitchelton-Scott teammates. It's bunched up behind that first string of 15 riders. 

 

The jackets are coming on. It's a cold miserable day out there. 

 

In case you missed it, Egan Bernal wrapped up overall victory at Paris-Nice yesterday. Here's his reaction: 

 

Bernal left in disbelief after winning Paris-Nice

 

67km remaining from 195km

The gap comes down below the two-minute mark as the riders press on over this rugged terrain. 

 

— Tirreno Adriatico (@TirrenAdriatico) March 18, 2019

60km remaining from 195km

We're coming towards the first of two intermediate sprints. Maestri is in the break again and will be keen for the points here to try and win the orange jersey, having finished second in the standings two years ago. 

 

Here are the standings in the points classification

 

1 Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 27 pts
2 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 22
3 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma 22
4 Mirco Maestri (Ita) Bardiani CSF 21
5 Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team 17
6 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep 14
7 Alberto Bettiol (Ita) EF Education First 13
8 Elia Viviani (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStep 12
9 Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal 12
10 Davide Gabburo (Ita) Neri Sottoli–Selle Italia–KTM 1

 

Maestri does indeed take maximum points, and none of his breakaway companions is minded to try and prevent that from happening. So not much of a sprint, really, just Maestri doing an extended turn on the front. 

 

That gives Maestri five more points, moving him to second on 26, one point behind Yates. The second intermediate sprint is coming up in around 30km and should see Maestri take the jersey with another five points. 

 

50km remaining from 195km

50km to go on the penultimate stage of Tirreno-Adriatico. The riders are dipping down towards Jesi, where three laps of a 12.6km finishing circuit awaits. 

 

Maestri, King, Ballerini, Van Hoecke, Quintana, Rojas, and Boev lead the peloton by 2:08. 

 

Details of the opening stages of the 2020 Tour de France have been unveiled. The Grand Départ will be in Nice, and the first stage offers a chance for the sprinters while the second takes the Tour for an early foray into the hills that are usually used to decide Paris-Nice. Full story here

38km remaining from 195km

The seven breakaway riders arrive in Jesi and head down the finishing straight for the first time. 

 

They cross the line for the first of three laps of the 12.6km circuit. 

 

The peloton comes across the line 1:55 in arrears. 

 

Still the same situation in the peloton, with Bora, QuickStep, and UAE all posting representatives on the front in order to keep this chase under control. Don't think I've seen any other team take a turn. 

31km remaining from 195km

31km to go and the pace has steadily been lifted, with the gap to the break falling all the time. It stands at 1:39 now. 

 

29km remaining from 195km

The second crossing of the finish line will be the second of the two intermediate sprints, coming up with a shade over 25km to go. The breakaway riders are going to still be clear, and Maestri is likely to be unchallenged once again. 

 

Peter Sagan is taking no chances, riding in sixth position in the single file line at the head of the peloton. Behind him it's more bunched up. 

 

The breakaway riders hit the flamme rouge and Maestri takes a look around to see if anyone is thinking of spoiling his fun. 

 

Maestri comes to the front with a couple of hundred metres to go and makes sure of it, though no one mounts a serious challenge. 

 

Maestri, therefore, will take the orange points jersey on this afternoon's podium. He sits on 31 points, four ahead of Yates, with Fuglsang and Roglic both on 22. Provided none of those riders podium in tomorrow's time trial, Maestri will win the points classification outright. 

 

The peloton comes across the line 1:35 down. 

 

23km remaining from 195km

The breakaway has started to split on the opening section of the second lap. Ballerini and Rojas are away, with Van Hoecke chasing alone. 

 

Rojas and Ballerini are pushing on as Van Hoecke scrambles to bridge the gap. It looks like the other four are out of the picture now. 

 

The peloton strings out as the pace is lifted in response to the attacks out front. The gap is still 1:30. 

 

19km remaining from 195km

Formolo was on the front for Bora and now Lampaert comes through for QuickStep. They're bringing the fresher and stronger riders to the fore now. 

 

17km remaining from 195km

Rojas and Ballerini are going all-in now. The odds are stacked against them, and they're relying on some hesitation or lack of collaboration in the peloton. The finishing circuit is not at all technical, so ordinarily the peloton should be perfectly able to close this gap of 1:25, even if they've left it a little later than usual. 

 

16km remaining from 195km

King and Quintana are caught by the peloton. Boev and Maestri will soon meet the same fate. 

 

Maestri is absorbed next, and now Boev sits up and accepts his day is done. 

 

That leaves Ballerini and Rojas out front, with Van Hoecke still chasing on his own. 

 

14km remaining from 195km

The gap ducks down below the one-minute mark as the peloton begins to make real inroads. 

 

Van Hoecke is caught. Two left out front. 

 

Ballerini and Rojas come onto the home straight for the penultimate time. Ballerini gestures Rojas through for a turn and eventually he obliges. 

 

The gap is falling fast now. It's down to 43 seconds as they approach the line. 

 

12km remaining from 195km

Lampaert leads the peloton towards the line. They take the bell 38 seconds in arrears with one more lap of 12.6km to go. 

 

— Tirreno Adriatico (@TirrenAdriatico) March 18, 2019

10km remaining from 195km

With 10km to go the gap is down to 31 seconds. 

 

Puncture for Rob Power (Sunweb).

 

Bora-Hansgrohe lead the way. For those just tuning in, it's been them, QuickStep, and UAE doing all the work today. They have, respectively, Sagan, Viviani, and Gaviria, who are the big three favourites here. 

 

How about a turn from Vincenzo Nibali? The two-time Tirreno champion does his bit in the interests of Bahrain-Merida's sprinter Phil Bauhaus. 

 

7km remaining from 195km

23 seconds now for Ballerini and Rojas. 

 

Lampaert takes it up again as the peloton strings out. 

 

5km remaining from 195km

The pace is really high now and Ballerini and Rojas will soon be caught. They have just nine seconds now. 

 

It's Asgreen on the front for QuickStep, arms folded over his bars. They have Michael Morkov who has moved up and is ready to lead out Viviani. 

 

Rojas takes a look over his shoulder, sees the peloton on his tail, and sits up, while Ballerini gets his head down and gives it once last roll of the dice. 

 

3km remaining from 195km

The Astana rider only has a handful of seconds and this won't last long.

 

3km remaining from 195km

The catch is made and the peloton is back as one. 

 

Bora lead into the final 3km. 

 

And now Jumbo-Visma move up. Tony Martin comes to the fore for them. 

 

Big shoulder barge tussle between Mohoric and an Israel Academy rider.

 

2km remaining from 195km

Into the final 2km and the big guns move up.

 

Sagan is second wheel already, behind Stybar for QuickStep. 

 

Sagan is the one interruption in what is one big QuickStep train.

 

Morkov hits the front now. Final kilometre. 

 

Here we go. QuickStep take it up but it's not for Viviani...

 

Alaphilippe sprinting for QuickStep, and takes it!

 

Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) wins stage 6 of Tirreno-Adriatico. 

 

Wow. We knew the finishing straight was ever so slightly uphill, but we didn't see that coming...

 

Richeze leads it out, but it's not Viviani on his wheel, but rather Alaphilippe. The pair open a gap as they get a jump on the rest, and Alaphilippe holds a brilliant sprint in the last 100 metres and punches the air repeatedly in celebration. 


Viviani was on Sagan's wheel but it wasn't the best launchpad and although he made up ground on the left to finish third, victory went to his teammate. Amazing.

 

Davide Cimolai (Israel Cycling Academy) was second with an impressive sprint. 

 

Top 10

 

1 Julian Alaphilippe 4:42:11
2 Davide Cimolai
3 Elia Viviani
4 Clement Venturini
5 Peter Sagan
6 Maxiimiliano Richeze
7 Jens Keukeleire
8 Greg Van Avermaet
9 Reinardt Janse van Rensburg
10 Simone Consonni

 

General classification after stage 6



1 Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 1:15:59
2 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma 0:00:25
3 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 0:00:35
4 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:01:55
5 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:02:34
6 Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky 0:02:39
7 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:02:46
8 Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:02:58
9 Simon Clarke (Aus) EF Education First 0:03:03
10 Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates 0:03:26

 

"I'm not a sprinter, no," insists Alaphilippe, "but I know I can do a good sprint, especially after some hard days. 

 

"We wanted to do a good lead-out for Elia, but on the last lap he told me if i wanted to try the sprint... I said 'ok I will be your last lead-out man'. In the end, Max Richeze did a really impressive last big pull, and I was behind. I saw the line at 200 metres and I just went full gas. It's incredible."

First winner's shot is in...

 

Viviani went to congratulate both Alaphilippe and Richeze, but it will be interesting to hear his take on that. He appeared to have the finishing speed to have won that, had QuickStep performed a traditional lead-out. It looked like a masterstroke that caught the rest of the field off-guard, but just how planned was that from Lefevere's men?

 

Alaphilippe just keeps on winning. It almost seems bizarre to think back to the end of 2017 when the frustrated Frenchman wondered when he'd make his true breakthrough. Little did he know it was just around the corner. He had won six races up until that point. In just over 12 months since, he has collected 18!

 

This is his sixth success of the season, after two stages at the Vuelta a San Juan, one at the Tour Colombia, Strade Bianche, and then stage 2 here at Tirreno. Following victories last year at La Flèche Wallonne, San Sebastián, two stages at the Tour de France, and the overall at the Tour of Britain, Alaphilippe has truly been unleashed and is starting to build a palmarès commensurate with his vast potential.

 

Milan-San Remo is coming up on Saturday, and odds on the 26-year-old will be tumbling...

 

Here's our report page, where you can find a write-up of the action, along with results and photos.

 

Tirreno-Adriatico: Alaphilippe wins bunch sprint on stage 6

 

 

This is what lies ahead tomorrow. A 21.5km time trial to decide the 2019 Tirreno-Adriatico. 

 

 

Can Yates hang on for the overall title? Find out tomorrow. We'll be back right here for full live coverage. In the meantime, keep an eye on Cyclingnews for all the latest from the race, including reaction from Viviani, Alaphilippe, and Sagan. 

 

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