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Tirreno-Adriatico stage 6 - live coverage


After an onerous weekend of climbing, the penultimate stage of Tirreno-Adriatico is tailored towards the sprinters, with the finale in Lido di Fermo offering them a final chance to chance to check on their speed ahead of Milan-San Remo next weekend. Then again, it seems that just about anything could happen in this edition of Tirreno-Adriatico, where a select band of riders have been racing with remarkable intensity and making life very, very difficult for everybody else. The 11.2km finishing circuit in Lido di Fermo begins with the brief climb of Capodarco, but under normal circumstances, that shouldn’t eliminate the fast men from contention.

Roll out today is at 12.10 local time, with the gruppo scheduled to hit kilometre zero at 12.15. The opening kilometres are gently downhill, before the road climbs around Macerata and takes in the day’s lone classified ascent, Monte San Giusto. On reaching the Adriatic coast, the race takes in 30.4km lap around Lido di Fermo before concluding with four quick laps of the 11.2km finishing circuit.

The general classification ahead of stage 6 is as follows:

After yesterday’s miserable, frigid conditions, the weather is more pleasant today. The temperature is 10°C at the start in Castelraimondo, with no rain forecast between here and the finish in Lido di Fermo this afternoon.

Michael Gogl, who so impressed at Strade Bianche last week, is a non-starter today. "With a view to his upcoming objectives, @MichaelGogl will not start today's stage of @TirrenAdriatico as our performance team agreed he will benefit from a few additional days of recovery," his Qhubeka Assos team announced on Twitter. 


Three early attackers have gained a small advantage over the peloton: Mads Würtz Schmidt (Israel Start-Up Nation), Nathan Van Hooydonck (Jumbo-Visma) and Ryan Mullen (Trek-Segafredo).

Interesting to note the presence of a Jumbo-Visma rider in this move, given that Van Hooydonck's leader Wout van Aert is both second overall and a leading contender for stage victory this afternoon. 


Michael Schär (AG2R Citroen), Fabio Felline (Astana Premier Tech), Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe), Kenneth Vanbilsen (Cofidis) and Jonathan Castroviejo (Ineos) are part of the next group to try its luck, but it will be difficult to get away on this fast and largely downhill opening section of the stage. 




The remorseless early speed will drop shortly when the road starts to climb towards Macerata, and that might allow this group to establish their lead, which is already nudging out towards 30 seconds.





Mathieu van der Poel looked set for a dominant solo victory when he took off with 52km to go yesterday, making it look easy as he built a lead of 3 minutes. The Dutchman suffered considerably in the closing stage, however, and he could only barely fend off Tadej Pogacar, winning by 10 seconds in the end. There were shades of his sudden collapse at the Yorkshire Worlds, but this time the Dutchman was able to maintain enough forward progress to claim his second stage win of the week. "I was good until the last lap when I was completely empty. I don't even know how I got to the finish line today," Van der Poel said. "The last 10-15 kilometres were really hell for me today. I thought he was going to get me. I couldn't ride 200 watts anymore, I was completely empty with the cold and the long solo I did. I thought he was going to get me and I'm really happy to be rewarded with the win." Read more here.


In brass neck news, Bradley Wiggins has called for a further investigation into the curious case of Team Sky, British Cycling and their former doctor Richard Freeman. On Friday, Freeman was found guilty by a Medical Practitioners Tribunal of ordering testosterone in 2011 “knowing or believing” it was to be given to an unnamed rider to improve their athletic performance. “The whole thing stinks to high heaven. It’s been ten years now but it wants looking into further. Yes, he’s been found guilty and it falls on his head but who else’s head does it fall on?” Wiggins said on his podcast. Read more here.



Elia Viviani (Cofidis) is expecting a sprint in Lido di Fermo this afternoon, but he acknowledged that the circumstances could make it a reduced group at the finish. “There are not many pure sprinters left, so we expect movement from Van Aert, Van der Poel and QuickStep, and there is a climb 8km from the finish. It will be a hard sprint, but at least is should be a sprint," Viviani said at the start in Castelraimondo.



Caleb Ewan's abandon gave his teammate Brent Van Moer the freedom to join the break today and it also means that Lotto Soudal are not among the teams willing to tee up a sprint today. For the time being, Alpecin-Fenix are setting the tempo at the head of the bunch, with a big delegation from UAE Team Emirates just behind.

A puncture for Mathieu van der Poel who gets a quick change and make his way back towards the peloton at his ease. 

As well as defending Tadej Pogacar's lead, UAE Team Emirates will hope to pilot Fernando Gaviria to a sprint this afternoon. The Colombian was off the pace in the sprints at the UAE Tour but he was in the mix on the first day of Tirreno-Adriatico, placing third behind Van Aert.


Deceuninck-QuickStep have Alvaro Hodeg in their line-up here, but their anointed fast men for today is Omloop Het Nieuwsblad winner Davide Ballerini. "We’ll try with me," Ballerini said at the start. "It won’t be easy after yesterday, it was a really hard stage and it’s still in the legs for some people in the group.”


The race is approaching Lido di Fermo and the Adriatic coast for the first time. After passing through Lido di Fermo with 75km to, the race tackles a lap of 30km before the stage concludes with four laps of a shorter, 11.2km finishing circuit.



Wout van Aert, second overall at 1:15, acknowledged at the start that he was the favourite for this afternoon's stage. “Maybe after my victory the first day, yes, but there are also some strong sprinters in the bunch and not many opportunities left, so I think it will be a big fight," he said. 


Total Direct Energie take up the reins in the bunch for Niccolò Bonifazio. The Italian hasn't had a result of note so far this year, but he took second at Scheldeprijs last season and he has a big appointment on home roads on Saturday at Milan-San Remo. 


Le Samyn and GP Monsere winner Tim Merlier is probably Alpecin-Fenix's option today, not least given how much Van der Poel suffered in the finale yesterday. THat said, the Dutch champion might be minded to make one last check of his finishing speed with an eye to the Via Roma on Saturday.


Carr gets back on his feet and then onto his bike, having seemingly been given the all clear to continue in the race. 

A coalition of Total Direct Energie, Deceuninck-QuickStep, UAE Team Emirates and Alpecin-Fenix is setting the pace at the head of the bunch, and it seems difficult to imagine the six escapees could deny the sprinters in Lido di Fermo this afternoon.



This afternoon's finish might provide some indication on Peter Sagan's progress following his first days of racing in 2021. The three-time world champion was forced to delay the start of his season after testing positive for COVID-19 in February, and he acknowledged that his entire base of winter training was effectively undone. He placed 11th in the bunch sprint on the first day, but, not surprisingly, he laboured nearer the rear of the peloton in the tougher stages since.


The Eolo-Kometa-led peloton comes through the finish line 3:40 down on the six leaders.


The bunch has tackled the short climb to Capodarco. It's easily digestible at this point in the race, but it might be enough to see the peloton shed some riders when the pace is high on the final lap.

The peloton is lining out on the first of these local laps, where Eolo-Kometa are setting the tempo.


The break is again on the climb to Capodarco, familiar from the amateur race, the GP Capodarco. Recent winners include Jai Hindley (2016), Robert Power (2014) and Mattia Cattaneo (2011).  


UAE Team Emirates take up the reins in the peloton on behalf of Fernando Gaviria. The race leader Tadej Pogacar sits comfortably in third wheel.



Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious) punctures, but the Basque rider has several teammates with him as he gets a wheel change, and he should make it back on without undue problems.

The peloton crosses the finish line with two laps to go some 2:38 down on the break. There doesn't seem to be anybody setting the pace in the peloton, however, and this could spell doom for the chances of a bunch sprint today.


Filippo Ganna (Ineos), meanwhile, sits up in the peloton, perhaps with an eye to sparing himself for tomorrow's time trial.

Jan Bakelants (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert), Simone Velasco (Gazprom-RusVelo), Mads Würtz Schmidt (Israel Start-Up Nation), Brent Van Moer (Lotto Soudal), Nelson Oliveira (Movistar) and Emils Liepins (Trek-Segafredo) have maintained a united front thus far, but this alliance of circumstance will surely begin to fragment once they realise that the bunch doesn't look like bringing them back.




DSM have now given up the chase in the peloton, which will be still more than 2 minutes down when they cross the finish line for the penultimate time. 

Stefan Kung takes the bell just ahead of the bunch, which is 2:02 down on the six leaders.

Nelson Oliveira sets the pace on the climb of Capodarco and his forcing looks to be too much for Liepins, who loses contact.


Mads Wurtz Schmidt takes over from Oliveira and the pace rises a little more. Back in the peloton, meanwhile, Natnael Tesfatsion (Androni-Sidermec) and Kevin Geniets (Groupama-FDJ) attack on the climb, but they're too far back to trouble the escapees.





Mads Wurtz Schmidt tightens his shoes in anticipation of a sprint, though it's hard to imagine this quintet will make it to the finish without somebody trying to take a flyer. 





Oliveira leads Wurtz Schmidt into the finale chicane and then he winds up the sprint...

Wurtz Schmidt opens his sprint and hits the front. Only Van Moer seems able to challenge...

Mads Würtz Schmidt (Israel Start-Up Nation) wins stage 6 of Tirreno-Adriatico.

Brent Van Moer (Lotto Soudal) took second place in the five-up sprint. 

Simone Velasco was third ahead of Bakelants and Oliveira. Liepins comes across the line alone in 6th.

Tim Merlier and Elia Viviani lead the peloton home 1:11 down on Wurtz Schmidt.

Mads Würtz Schmidt was the form rider and his strength told here, as he delivered a powerful and assured sprint to take the honours. 


General classification

Mads Würtz Schmidt's last victory came at the 2016 Tour of Denmark, when he was still at Continental level with Team Trefor. "It means the world to me. I haven’t won since I turned pro. It’s a huge relief, it’s what I’ve been fighting for for the last five years," he says. "It was a hard start. First I tired with two other guys but we didn’t get away. Then I got away the second time with this group and we worked really well together. We all had in mind that we had to go hard in the break all the way to break the morale in the peloton, and we succeeded with that. We worked really well together. It was a super hard stage but I felt good when we came into the final."

Mads Wurtz Schmidt wins stage 6 of the 2021 Tirreno-Adriatico.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The average speed was a very brisk 45.645kph. Another indication of the remarkably high level that has persisted since competition resumed after the first coronavirus lockdown last summer. 

Tirreno-Adriatico 2021

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Tirreno-Adriatico 2021

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Tirreno Adriatico 2021 56th Edition 6th stage Castelraimondo Lido di Fermo 169 km 15032021 Mads Wurtz Schmidt DEN Israel StartUp Nation photo Tommaso PelagalliBettiniPhoto2021

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Simon Carr (EF Education-Nippo) finished today's stage despite his heavy crash into an unprotected traffic island on the stage. The Briton came in 12 minutes down in the company of teammate Alex Howes.

A full report, results and photos from today's stage are available here.


General classification

Tadej Pogacar looks to have the general classification sewn up ahead of tomorrow's time trial in San Benedetto del Tronto, but the stage will serve as a useful test nonetheless. “I will race by my feeling and I hope I will do a good time trial because it’s quite important when it comes to time trials in almost every race this year,” Pogacar said. “There are also two in the Tour so it will be good training for the next races.” Read the full story here.

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