Buongiorno and welcome to the Cyclingnews live coverage of stage 3 of Tirreno-Adriatico.
As the Cyclingnews blimp takes height, the riders are signing on and lining up for the roll out in the stunning village of Monticiano.
The 219km stage cuts across central Italy from southern Tuscany near Siena to Gualdo Tadino in Umbria.
The stage includes a total of 3000m of climbing and so won't be an easy day for the sprinters. The finish also rises for the final 2.5km.
There are six climbs in the first half of the stage, offering excellent terrain for a break to go clear.
It will be interesting to see if Wout Van Aert's Jumbo-Visam team ride all day to protect the race lead or play poker with their rival sprint teams.
The stage is underway!
🇮🇹 #TirrenoAdriatico off to stage 3 🤞 pic.twitter.com/loU8Ug6e8WMarch 12, 2021
The stage soon hits a climb and so we can expect attacks.
175 riders started the stage. We already have a first attack!
Four riders have attacked but the speed is high.
Mark Padun of Bahrain started the attack but is now struggling to stay with the others.
They are Davide Bais (Eolo Kometa), Tobias Ludvigsson (Groupama FDJ), Boivin (Israel Start Up Nation) and Niki Terpstra (Total Direct Energie).
They are on the first climb of the day.
The climb is up to Chiusdino where stage 2 finished.
The peloton has let themn go and the gap is up to 3:30.
Padun has made it back to the break, which now includes 5 riders.
After 11km the break of five have a lead of 5:50.
As we suggested earlier, it will be fascinating to see who leads the chase.
The riders in the break are Mark Padun (Bahrain Victorious), Davide Bais (Eolo Kometa), Tobias Ludvigsson (Groupama FDJ), Boivin (Israel Start Up Nation) and Niki Terpstra (Total Direct Energie).
Their lead is up to 6:30. If it goes up further, they could have a real chance of fighting for the stage victory.
Here is the break of the day.
🔱 Tirreno Adriatico @eolo_it 2021📅 Stage 3📌 Pian di Feccia - km 25🚴♂️@PadunMark, @davide_bais, @tludvigsson, @Guillaumeboivin, @NikiTerpstra ⏱️ 6'40" > Gruppo📊 Live: https://t.co/eYwKKmpcsy🏁 194 km#TirrenoAdriatico pic.twitter.com/Jgjrsw4wEiMarch 12, 2021
It's another day of racing, with another WorldTour peloton also racing Paris-Nice.
Click below to follow our full liver coverage of stage 6.
The break is carefully pacing their effort to get over the early climbs.
We just visited our @Guillaumeboivin in the breakaway in #TirrenoAdriatico. He has four partners, and they got almost a 7 min gap. The road ahead is extra-long: 175 km to go. pic.twitter.com/1x1arU6rcOMarch 12, 2021
We will also be covering the women's Healthy Ageing Tour.
Ellen van Dijk wins time trial yesterday and the riders face a hard rolling stage today.
After a fast 50km and another climb south if Siena, the break have extended their lead to 7:20.
Paul Martens and Edoardo Affini are riding tempo for Jumbo-Visma but it will be interesting to see who and if other teams help with the chase.
Today's stage will soon pass through Monteroni d'Arbia, close to the best dirt roads covered in Strade Bianche. Sadly the race will not hit the dirt today but the riders will get a chance to enjoy the stunning Crete Senesi hills.
145km to go
The work of the peloton has pegged the break's lead to around 7:30.
#TirrenoAdriatico 🇮🇹The 5 leaders have stretched their advantage out to 8'30"⏱Still a long way to go with 140km remaining. pic.twitter.com/euwhrGc8CxMarch 12, 2021
On a gradual climb the break has managed to carve out two more minutes, extending their lead to 8:50.
125km to go
The break has reached the top of the gradual 12km climb in the heart of the rolling Tuscan hills.
The five riders still lead by 8:50.
Mark Padun (Bahrain - Victorious) Davide Bais (Eolo Kometa), Tobias Ludvigsson (Groupama FDJ), Guillaume Boivin (Israel Start Up Nation) and Niki Terpstra (Total Direct Energie) jumped away at the start of the stage and have worked well together to extend their lead to 9:00.
Behind Jumbo-Visma have one rider leading the chase and we can see a rider from Cofidis, Movistar and Alpecin also helping some what.
After 100km in the hills, the average speed has been close to 40km/h. To be precise it was 39.900 km/h.
Mark Padun (Bahrain - Victorious) and Tobias Ludvigsson (Groupama FDJ) are gthe best placed riders in the break. They are 9:22 down on Van Aert and so will soon become virtual race leader's if they can push out their 9:00 lead a little further.
The pace has risen in the peloton. There could be some concern about cross winds on the more exposed roads.
Several teams are feeding on the rise to a village of Bettolle and that could be a reason why some teams were moving up to the front.
Here we go! The roads are exposed in the fields.
Riders and teams are concerned that the wind from their right could blow up the race.
The roads is turning left and right, changing the direct of the wind.
The pace is hurting some, including Caleb Ewan, who is swinging off the back of the peloton.
Here we go! Mathieu van der Poel is on the front giving it big watts!
He can sense the crosswinds and the chance to split the peloton.
Other teams are mixing with Alpecin at speed as Ewan slips back through the team cars.
Ewan took a Coke from the Lotto car but they have driven on and left him.
Now Julian Alaphilippe takes a turn on the front as Deceunink also join the attacks in the crosswinds.
Caleb Ewan has climbed off and abandoned Tirreno-Adriatico.
The Australia sprinter props his bike against a wall and climbs into the Lotto Soudal team car.
Up front there are 100 riders in a front group. They are on the exposed flat roads above Lake Trasimeno trying to catch a cross wind.
The terrain will soon change abruptly when they climb Poggio della Croce.
🇮🇹 #TirrenoAdriaticoSo @mathieuvdpoel decided to shake things up in the bunch. We also saw @MerlierTim and @RickaertJonas pulling. 💪93 km to go and the gap with the race leaders has gone down to 5'40". pic.twitter.com/4KcdnSUxAMMarch 12, 2021
The race is now passing below the stunning village of Cortona. Some of you may remember it is the village where the famous Tuscan lifestyle book Under the Tuscan Sun was based.
90km to go
Due to the attacks and speed in the peloton, the break has lost some time.
Mark Padun (Bahrain - Victorious) Davide Bais (Eolo Kometa), Tobias Ludvigsson (Groupama FDJ), Guillaume Boivin (Israel Start Up Nation) and Niki Terpstra (Total Direct Energie) lead by 5:25 now.
There are several chasers behind the peloton, including Thibaut Pinot.
This is the five-rider break of the stage, with Niki Terpstra (Total Direct Energie) on the front.
Mark Padun (Bahrain - Victorious) Davide Bais (Eolo Kometa), Tobias Ludvigsson (Groupama FDJ) and Guillaume Boivin (Israel Start Up Nation) are also there.
85km to go
The Poggio della Croce climb starts very soon.
This was the view of the peloton and the Tuscan countryside earlier.
Peter Sagan is tucked carefully on the wheels as he tries to find some form.
The Poggio della Croce is slowing the break and hurting their legs. They have been out front for 100km already today.
The climb is also hurting the peloton. They are lined out with one Alpecin rider and Jumbo-Visma now in charge of the chase. Jumbo have three riders ahead of Van Aert and another on his wheel.
80km to go
The break is losing time as the peloton climbs significantly faster.
The gap is down to 4:00 near the summit.
The peloton sprints to the summit and for good position on the twisting descent.
The break leads by just 3:10 now.
The race follows the Tuscan/Umbria border towards Umbertide. Then jumps over the hills again towards Gubbio.
From they turn south along the valley to Gualdo Tadino.
It is starting to rain, with low clouds hanging over the hills.
Forecasts expect it to rain all the way to the finish.
70km to go
The peloton has eased with Van Aert also raising a white flag by taking a quick natural break.
Behind Peter Sagan gets back on after being dropped on the climb.
The riders have a cross tail wind at the moment but it will be a cross head wind after they turn down the valley at Gubbio.
It is expected to blow at 25km/h, perhaps not enough to split the race.
Kasper Asgreen had edged off the front of the peloton but has sat up and dropped back onto the wheels.
With 65km to go, riders are eating and drinking. They face a long 219km in the saddle.
The roads are exposed now but the nearby hills are protecting the riders.
With the rain clouds gathering, riders are pulling on gillet and extra layers. Julian Alaphilippe is at the back pulling in his unique rainbow-stripped gillet.
The drop in pace in the peloton has helped the break push back up their lead. they are at 6:00 with 60km to go.
55km to go
The intermediate sprint comes in 2km in the centre of Umbertide.
The break leads by 5:50 and so Alpecin have put two riders on the front to pick up the chase.
The finish suits van der Poel and so he is right to invest in his chances.
Here comes the sprint.
The break rolls through the sprint point and so Davide Bais (Eolo Kometa) leads the others across the line.
Mark Padun (Bahrain - Victorious) , Tobias Ludvigsson (Groupama FDJ) and Guillaume Boivin (Israel Start Up Nation) are still there.
Alpecin are upping the pace after leaving Umbertide.
The gap to the break is down to 4:33 but it will surely fall quickly now.
The break has covered the short climb and is diving down the valley towards Gubbio, desperate to stay away.
🇮🇹 #TirrenoAdriaticowith 50km remaining the gap of the escapees is just under 5‘. pic.twitter.com/FwMfDJuzcEMarch 12, 2021
#TirrenoAdriatico. The breakaway temporaly saw their lead increase. Within the final 50 km, the gap is 5:00. @davide_bais was first the Umbertide intermediate sprint. What a stage for him! [📷 Maurizio Borserini]#EOLOKOMETACyclingTeam #TheRaceOfTheTwoSeas #LaCorsaDeiDueMari pic.twitter.com/yANc04nowLMarch 12, 2021
40km to go
The break is down to 3:20 with 40km to go.
The chase is on.
Rear flat for Viviani. The speed is up and so he will perhaps take a bike change.
Several team leaders are given a final bidon for the final 35km of the stage.
The speed will soon be too high for further feeding and then the 'bar' will close with 20km to go.
Padun takes a big turn on the front of the break but their lead is down to 2:45.
Ouch. Ivan Cortina is full of road rash after a crash. He has lost skin on both sides.
The race will soon pass below Gubbio and then continue south towards Gualdo Tadino.
Viviani is back in the bunch. But he is likely to struggled on the rise to the finish.
30km to go
The Qhubeka Assos move up to the front of the peloton, followed by Bora.
What are their plans? Perhaps a move in the crosswinds?
Ineos and Deceuninck are also moving up.
25km to go
The peloton passes through Gubbio, passing the Roman ampitheatre and other historic buildings.
The Umbria valley is on the path of the religious pilgrims and so is dotted with superb architecture.
The next section of road is gradually downhill and so will be fast as the peloton pursue the break.
The lead of the break is fading more and more. It is down to 1:30 now.
Padun does a turn in the break using an super tuck position.
From April 1 those positions will be banned for safety reasons and he will be fined if he does after that date.
18km to go.
The gap is below a minute.
Sivakov stops perhaps due to a mechanical problem. He is best young rider but faces a chase to get back on.
Deceuninck are leading the peloton at high speed.
Sivakov gets back on and is taken up front by Salvatore Puccio and Jonathan Castroviejo.
10km to go
The peloton can see the break now. It's almost gruppo compatto.
After a right turn the final 9km are flat and straight before the kick up to the finish.
Ludvigsson and Bias are dropped from the break.
10km to go
The turn right is fast via a chicane.
More mechanical problems for Viviani. His chances are over.
Positioning for the finish is vital. The road climbs to a sharp left turn with 1km to go.
It is followed by a sweeping right and then another left turn to the finish.
The final 200m rise at around 5%.
Merlier has been dropped and so it is up to van der Poel today.
His teammates are on longer on the front and van der Poel is fighting to stay near Van Aert's wheel.
5km to go
The last three of the break are being allowed to hang off the front. But we can soon expect a final acceleration from the peloton.
This is the kick-up to the finish.
Before the escapees are caught and the teams bring their leaders to the front, make sure you check out the profile of the final three kilometers of today's #TirrenoAdriatico stage. pic.twitter.com/xVACbLP3eEMarch 12, 2021
Asgreen leads Alaphilippe up to the front, alongside Jumbo.
Crash in the bunch!
Quinn Simmons and Stefan Kung are involved.
Belletti of Eolo also went down hard on his shoulder.
2km to go
It's a fight for the front before the corner!
Alaphilippe is second wheel.
Van Aert and van der Poel are there too!
So is van Avermaet.
Deceuninck lead it out.
Alaphilippe has let a gap go.
Van Aert leads the chase.
Boom. Van der Poel wins it!
He was on Van Aert's wheel and then accelerated to victory.
He went deep but is happy to win.
Van Aert was forced to lead out the sprint after Alaphilippe let Stybar go alone in the final 500m.
That cost him and he could do little to take on his rival van der Poel.
Alaphilippe rode for Ballerini but they were a little too far back and so Ballerini ran out of road.
He finished third but was too far back when he should have been on van der Poel's wheel.
Van der Poel crossed arms and then appeared to pull out a sword as a victory celebration.
Sergio Higuita (EF) was an impressive fourth after being with Van Aert and van der Poel in the sprint.
🇮🇹 #TirrenoAdriatico: Victoria para Van de Poel (AFC) por delante de Van Aert (TJV) y Ballerini (DQT).➡️ 7º puesto para @ivan_cortina y 9º para @gonzaloserrano9 pic.twitter.com/HQN4dP1Q7tMarch 12, 2021
Greg van Avermaet finished fifth, while Tadej Pogacar was 7th.
Van der Poel took a ten-second time bonus for his win but Van Aert picked-up six seconds and so kept the race lead.
He leads his eternal rival by 4 seconds, with stage 2 winner Alaphilippe third overall at 19 seconds.
This is the top ten for the stage and the GC.
|1||Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix||5:24:18|
|2||Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma|
|3||Davide Ballerini (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStep|
|4||Sergio Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Education-Nippo|
|5||Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) AG2R Citroën Team|
|6||Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto Soudal|
|7||Ivan Garcia Cortina (Spa) Movistar Team|
|8||Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates|
|9||Gonzalo Serrano Rodriguez (Spa) Movistar Team|
|10||Hugo Hofstetter (Fra) Israel Start-up Nation|
|1||Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma||14:01:47|
|2||Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix||0:0:04|
|3||Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep||0:0:10|
|4||Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Bahrain Victorious||0:0:19|
|5||Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates||0:0:20|
|6||Robert Stannard (Aus) Team BikeExchange|
|7||João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck-QuickStep|
|8||Sergio Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Education-Nippo|
|9||Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto Soudal|
|10||Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe|
So far Van Aert has collected a total of 20 bonus seconds. They could be the difference between overall victory and a place on the podium at the end of Tirreno-Adriatico.
Of course, everything will depend on what happens this weekend on the mountain finish at Prati di Tivo and then on the Muri stage around the ramps of Castelfidardo.
Here's MvdP win.
🟥🟥🟥🟥🟥🟥🟥🟥🟥💪@mathieuvdpoel 💪🟦🟦🟦🟦🟦🟦🟦🟦🟦#TirrenoAdriatico pic.twitter.com/sbuvGPJ4g9March 12, 2021
Here's a series of three great finish shots.
You can see van der Poel's celebrations.
Van der Poel said he wanted to win to make up for his mistake in Thursday's sprint.
He explained his folded arm celebration:
"We saw this celebration in MotoGP on Instagram with the team. I thought I'd do it," he said.
For van der Poel, winning the stage was about putting things right after missing out on Thursday.
"I was frustrated yesterday with my mistake in the sprint and I wanted to make it right today. I was happy to take the win after the team also did an amazing job to close the break," he said.
MvdP also talked about how he took advantage of Van Aert chasing down Stybar's late attack.
"Wout immediately reacted to Alaphilippe letting the gap go, otherwise it could have been dangerous. I think I made the right decision to follow. It was a hard sprint, it went up hill a bit. After such a long stage, it hurt," he said.
"I really wanted to win a stage and that’s why I was frustrated with myself yesterday. I’m glad to win today."
To read more about the stage and see our full results and growing photo gallery, click below.
Here's MvdP on the Tirreno-Adriatico podium.
🚀 It's the first bunch sprint won by @mathieuvdpoel since 2019 (Tour of Britain)🥇 29% of his wins are bunch sprints since 2019#cycling #ciclismo #MVDP #TirrenoAdriatico pic.twitter.com/OC5pWHvoZpMarch 12, 2021
However Van Aert remains with the crown and race lead at Tirreno-Adriatico before Saturday's important mountain stage.
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