As it happened: Tirreno-Adriatico stage 6
Primoz Roglic collected his third straight win in Osimo
Hello and welcome to our live coverage of stage 6 of Tirreno-Adriatico.
Primož Roglič became the new overall leader of the race following his second successive stage win yesterday, but the GC remains wide open, with 15 riders all still within one minute of the Slovenian.
That makes today’s stage, with its constant ups and downs, an especially thrilling prospect. Brace yourself - this has the potential to be one of the most exciting days of racing so far this season
Stage 6 will be the traditional Tirreno-Adriatico stage of the ‘Tappa dei Muri,’ a parcours without a major mountain climb, but multiple steep ‘walls’ to disrupt the race and cause carnage.
Every year this stage is a highlight, with attacking racing and (if you’ll excuse the pun) wall-to-wall action. Today promises to be even more eventful, with so many riders still in contention for overall victory
Yesterday had been expected to be a more decisive day in the GC, but strong winds helped prevent many time gaps. Ultimately, 17 riders made it to the top of the Sassotetto mountain together, after a block headwind prevented the stronger climbers from breaking away.
Tao Geoghegan Hart, who sprinted for second behind Roglič and Giulio Ciccone, described it as one of the strangest mountain finishes he’d ever taken part in
The riders will be setting off in around ten minutes time, and the difficulty will begin almost immediately, with the first of many unclassified climbs about five kilometres into the stage
Osimo is the host of the start of today’s stage, and the town will be returned to later in the day for a series of circuits
The riders are in the neutralised zone and making their way towards the official start
Here were the four leaders at the start of the neutralised zone - João Almeida in white as best young rider, Roglič in blue as overall leader, Jasper Philipsen in ciclaminoas points leader and Giulio Ciccone in green as mountains leader (although the latter two are wearing the jersey on behalf ofRoglič, who leads both classifications)
And they're off!
It will be interesting to see what riders attempt to make it into the early break. With its parcours, it suits the puncheurs, most of whom are now far enough down on GC to no longer be considered threat, and therefore should be given freedom to get up the road
One non-starter today: Maciej Bodnar, who might have been a handy domestique for TotalEnergies leader Peter Sagan, if the Slovak were to show any form today
The riders are currently climbing a 6km hill to Recanati, averaging 6%
Attacks are flying out the bunch, and eight riders have gone clear, among them Quinn Simmons
Now Mathieu van der Poel has joined those 8 riders!
That group has finished climbing, and has an advantage of about half a minute.
Here it is in full: Quinn Simmons (Trek-Segafredo), Mathieu van der Poel, Robert Stannard (both Alpecin-Deceuninck), Valerio Conti, Alexander Konychev (Both Team Corratec), Sven Erik Bystrøm (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty), Nikias Arndt (Bahrain Victorious), Filippo Magli (Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè) and Krists Neilands (Israel-PremierTech)
Van der Poel is of course the headline name. The Dutchman certainly isn't a threat on GC, in 51st at 14-18 down, but anyone interested in the stage win will not want to let him up the road so easily.
Van der Poel is eager though, and has attacked the group
Jumbo-Visma and Soudal-QuickStep keen not to let him and this escape any leeway, and pacing at the front of the peloton. Their riders Wout van Aert and Julian Alaphilippe are, along with Van der Poel, the riders best equipped to win the stage
Magli and Konychev have found the going too tough and have been dropped by the breakaway group
And now the whole race is back together. It's fair to say that Van der Poel was not wanted up the road
Van der Poel may have failed with that attack, but this surely won't be the last we see of him. The racing circumstances are almost ideal for him: the walls are the perfect for his powerful accelerations, and with the GC battle taking precedence, he won’t be quite as closely marked as usual.
Also: two years ago he won the equivalent stage of the 2021 Tirreno, with an attack over 50km from the finish
One difference between that day and today is the weather: this time conditions are relatively mild, with no rain and only a gentle breeze
Having been out the front, now Van der Poel is off the back, having had a flat tyre
The riders now climbing Santa Maria del Monte, a short 1.8km effort averaging 7.8%. Surely we'll see more attacks here with the break yet to be formed
While we wait for more attacks and a break to form, let’s consider the GC situation.
With only one, mostly flat stage remaining after today, this will be the decisive GC stage of the race.
Primož Roglič is in the lead, but it is only a slender one: four seconds ahead of the previous overall leader Lennard Kämna (Bora-Hansgrohe) in second, while there are eight other riders all within 25 seconds, and a further seven within one minute.
Even though he has won two stages on the trot, there are still some question marks about Roglič’s form. He was distanced on the climb yesterday, and only showed his face at the top to take victory in the sprint. Were it not for the headwinds, would he currently be in the overall lead?
That said, he clearly had strong legs at the finish to win the sprint. He may have just timed his effort better than the riders who attacked.
We’ll have a clearer picture of Roglič’s form after today, as he is likely to be exposed to an onslaught of attacks from those sniffing a chance at overall success.
With this in mind, Wout van Aert might have a crucial role to play. Although this stage looks ideal for him to land what would be his first win on the road in 2023, Roglič may need him on super-domestique duty to control the race when the attacks inevitably come.
11 riders are now up the road, and the peloton seems happier with the make-up of this group
Quinn Simmons (Trek-Segafredo), Krists Neilands (Israel-PremierTech) and Nikias Arndt (Bahrain-Victorious) are all in it having previously been part of the earlier group, and are this time joined by Gianni Vermeersch (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Davide Bais (Eolo-Kometa), Mike Teunissen, Georg Zimmerman (both Intermarché-Circus-Wanty), Casper Pedersen (Soudal-QuickStep), Clément Russo (Arkéa-Samsic), Alessandro De Marchi (Team Jayco AlUla) and Valentin Ferron (TotalEnergies)
Those riders also swept up the King of the Mountains points at the top of Santa Maria del Monte, with Ferron arriving in first ahead of Vermeersch, Bais and Pedersen
Here's that group out on the road, being lead by Ferron
Arndt was first over the intermediate sprint 160km from the finish, ahead of Teunissen, Vermeersch and Bais
The peloton are happy with the break, and have allowed it a lead of over 2 minutes. The Corratec duo of Valerio Conti and German Nicolás Tivani attempted to join them, but failed
That’s a group full of strong riders who will fancy their chances of winning the stage, but with nobody who’s a threat on GC. Neilands is the highest-placed among them, in 54th at 16-12
The pace is relaxed, and the break's lead is approaching three minutes
Jumbo-Visma are leading the peloton, and they will be happy at how the race has unfolded so far, with no dangerous attacks escaping up the road. That’s sure to change later as we get closer to the finish and the hills keep coming
Jumbo-Visma have now upped the race, and the gap is being controlled at about 2-30
So who do Jumbo-Visma have to keep an eye out for and prevent gaining any time? The UAE Team Emirates pair of João Almeida and Brandon MacNulty are of particular danger, in 3rd and 4th on GC at 12 and 17 seconds respectively, while the team has a third card to play in Adam Yates, who is 13th at 45 seconds.
Bora-Hansgrohe is another team that can pose lots of different problems with a variety of riders. Former overall leader Lennard Kämna is second at 4 seconds; Aleksandr Vlasov is 7th at 21 seconds; and Jai Hindley is 8th at 22 seconds
Tao Geoghean Hart (Ineos Grenadiers) and Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) were the closest to Roglič in yesterday’s sprint, and remain in close contention at 19 and 24 seconds respectively. And Enric Mas (Movistar) is among the strongest climbers on paper and looked in good knick yesterday, so could pose a serious threat lurking just 31 seconds down on GC.
Add to the mix Hugh Carthy, Thibaut Pinot, Ben O’Connor and the Bahrain-Victorious duo of Mikel Landa and Damiano Caruso, all of whom are within one minute of Roglič, and an almighty tussle looks set to be in store.
A glimpse of Primož Roglič out on the road. Will he still be in the blue jersey by the end of the day?
In total, the elevation gain is over 3,000 metres today, most of which is yet to come. The climbing starts intensifying soon, as the riders return to Osimo again to take on the challenging circuit
Mike Teunissen, who was in the break, has had a puncture
The break's lead has risen significantly in the last kilometres, and is now up to almost three and a half minutes
A reminder of the riders in that 11-man break:
Quinn Simmons (Trek-Segafredo), Krists Neilands (Israel-PremierTech), Nikias Arndt (Bahrain-Victorious), Gianni Vermeersch (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Davide Bais (Eolo-Kometa), Mike Teunissen, Georg Zimmerman (both Intermarché-Circus-Wanty), Casper Pedersen (Soudal-QuickStep), Clément Russo (Arkéa-Samsic), Alessandro De Marchi (Team Jayco AlUla) and Valentin Ferron (TotalEnergies)
Into the second half of the stage now as the riders enter the circuit in Osimo
Bais claimed maximum points at the top of the first ascent of the climb in Osimo, ahead of Arndt, Simmons and Pedersen
Bora-Hansgrohe have formed their own train at the front alongside the Jumbo-Visma riders. They must have hatched a plan for how to attack the Dutch squad with their multitude of GC contenders
The gap has come back down again, to around 2-30
Jumbo-Visma at the front and setting a steady pace, keeping the defecit to the break at about 2-30
Incidentally, by taking maximum points over the last climb, Bais has drawn level in the King of the Mountains classification with Primož Roglič, on 20 points
Flat tyre for Damiano Caruso in the peloton. The pace is steady though so shouldn't take long for him to return
There’s a lull in the action, the race having settled into a holding pattern with the gap between the leading 11 and the peloton staying steady at 2-30. But that should change soon when the riders take on the Muro di Osimo for the first time on the circuit. With gradients of 20%, this is the one that stage 6 has been hyped for
Caruso is back in the peloton following his puncture
...and now he's back off the back, wanting a bike change. It's just as well he's had these problems before the racing really kicks off. At just 49 seconds adrift on GC, he's a contender for the overall title
The pace is up a bit in the peloton, and the gap is down to two minutes
Bais has been dropped from the breakaway group, which scuppers his chances of taking the green jersey. Although he is level on points in the King of the Mountains classification, Roglič still leads on countback
Bais was dropped on an uphill stretch 75km from the finish
The break now splitting up on a super-steep section of the climb
Simmons is the one setting the pace, and the others are having to dig deep to stay in contact
Riders also getting shelled out the back of the peloton, including Mark Cavendish and Dylan van Baarle
Attack from Buitrago! He's one of Bahrain-Victorious' GC possibilities
Buitrago has used the steep slopes of this climb to get a decent gap. The Colombian is 1-20 down on GC, the third-highest placed of the Bahrain riders behind Mikel Landa and Damiano Caruso. This could be the first part of a big plan from the team today
The leaders are descending now having crested the climb, and Russo has rejoined them. Their lead is down to 1-30 ahead of the peloton
Jumbo-Visma are leading the peloton, aware of the danger Buitrago poses
The riders are climbing again, up towards the finish is Osimo for the second time. De Marchi leads them over the finish line this time
Now Buitrago crosses the line. He still has daylight ahead of the peloton
And now the peloton crosses it, lead by Jumbo-Visma. They are 30 seconds behind Buitrago
Buitrago's lead to the peloton has come down to 17 seconds. Bahrain-Victorious hasn't given up yet though - Arndt is being sent back from the break to help pace him
Mechanical for Adam Yates in the peloton, who is serviced by the neutral service car
Davide Formolo is now dropping back to help pace Yates
Arndt is now with Buitrago, but the pair only have about 20 seconds over the peloton
The break's lead has dipped below one minute for the first time in a while. It seems unlikely that they will make it to the finish, despite the strong calibre of riders featuring in it
Santiago Buitrago earlier in the day, before he joined forces with Arndt. The pair are now just 20 seconds behind the break, and 30 seconds ahead of the peloton
Buitrago also contributing to the pace setting in the pursuit. Just ten seconds away now
Mechanical for George Bennett in the peloton. He's an important domestique for UAE leaders Almeida, McNulty and Yates
And Buitrago and Arendt have made the junction, 50.5km from the finish
The leading group, now 11-strong with the addition of Buitrago and Arndt, only have a lead of 45 seconds over the peloton. It's a tall order for them to survive.
Simmons and Arndt have now broken clear from the rest of the break
Most of the break have joined the leading duo, although some have dropped back as the road tilts uphill again
8 riders left in the lead group, which is being lead by Neilands. Their lead is 40 seconds with 47km left to ride
Other teams now contributing to the chase in the peloton along with Jumbo-Visma, among them EF EducationEasyPost, DSM, Soudal-QuickStep and Bora-Hansgrohe
Arndt has had to sit up again, as Buitrago was delayed for some reason. It's Déjà vu: he's pacing the Colombian once again
The break has split up, and there are now just 2 rides out in front: Zimmermann and Ferron
And now the rest of the break has been swallowed up by the peloton, among them Buitrago. His threat has been neutralised
Zimmermann and Buitrago also caught - 40km to go, and the race is all back together
They're climbing the steepest climb of he circuit again, and Jumbo-Visma are pressing on with Wout van Aert
Riders are getting spat out of the back under Van Aert's pace. Roglič looking comfortable on his wheel
Bunch now stretched out all along the road. Small gaps are opening between the riders near the front
Adam Yates, Mikel Landa and Wilco Kelderman are just behind Van Aert and Roglič as they approach the top
The peloton reach the top with only about 20 riders remaining in it. Van Aert still leads on the descent
Crash in the peloton - Wilco Kelderman hits the deck. He's back on the bike, but must rejoin one of the trailing groups
Julian Alaphilippe is also in the lead group, one of about 25 riders. He's on Van Aert's wheel, who's still leading
Some other riders in the front group, as they hear the bell signalling the last lap: Mikel Landa, Adam Yates, Hugh Carthy, João Almeida, Ben O’Connor, Alex Aranburu, Lorenzo Rota, Aleksandr Vlasov, Tom Pidcock, Tao Geoghegan Hart, Atilla Valter and Giulio Ciccone
Van Aert and an Intermarché rider were briefly off the front, but have been caught. Now Vlasov attacks. This could start to get messy, especially with Jumbo-Visma down a key rider following Kelderman's crash
Here's Van Aert leading the peloton up the climb earlier
Tiesj Benoot has bridged up to the group and is now leading. Jumbo-Visma have this under control for now.
Attack from Guillame Martin, 28km from the finish. Vlasov is pursuing with two Movistar riders
Meanwhile the peloton has increased significanlty in size as a chasing group rejoined it
Vlasov and the two Movistar riders have now joined Martin. Martin might not be a GC threat, but Vlasov sure is - he's seventh at 21 seconds
Benoot is still leading the chase, with Van Aert and Roglič behind him along with the rest of the peloton
The 2 Movistar riders with Vlasov and Martin are Alex Aranburu and Carlos Verona. Their lead is now 25 seconds with 24.5km to ride
Vlasov is now the virtual leader on the road. The other riders in the leading quartet are only riding for the stage win, but Vlasov is very much here for the GC
UAE Team Emirates are now lending a hand to Jumbo-Visma in the chase. Vlasov and co's lead is about 30 seconds
Vlasov isn't hanging about. The others can barely stay on his wheel as he motors down this descent
Gap still at 30 seconds. The upcoming climbs are going to be very interesting. Can the peloton neutralise Vlasov before them?
Formolo is the UAE rider helping with the chase. Him an Benoot have reduced the defecit to 20 seconds
Benoot is done. He's dropped out of the peloton. Another big turn from Van Aert is surely up next on the climb
For now it's still Formolo on the front. They mut be confident of Almeida and McNulty's chances
Some of the impotus has gone out of the chase. Formolo slipped a chain, and upon repairing it, the other riders left a gap of a few bikelengths for a few moments. The gap is back up to 25 seconds
Formolo is back on the front and setting a fierce pace up this climb. The gap is back down to under 20 seconds
It's interesting that the two Movistar riders are working with Vlasov. Their teammate Enric Mas is in the peloton, who is one of Vlasov's rivals for the GC. Clearly Movistar must see it as a worthwhile move to put Jumbo-Visma under pressure
Formolo looks like he's tiring, and the gap would suggest so - it's now back up to 27 seconds, with 10km remaining
The leaders are on the descent. Just two more climbs to come now, and with such steep slopes, there's bound to be action
Ineos Grenaiders have hidden all day, but have taken over the chase. There are 4 of them at the front of the peloton, including Pidcock and Hart. Meanwhile Formolo is done and has been dropped
7km to go, the gap is 27 seconds. How much does Vlasov have left in the legs for the climbs? He's still virtual leader for now
Now the gap is coming down significantly. Inoes have done the job - as they start the climb, 6km from the finish, it's now just 15 seconds
Vlasov is looking over his shoulder, and he can see the bunch approaching. Now just 10 seconds
Almeida is leading the peloton, now just a few seconds behind the break
5km to go and the catch has been made
Landa attacks! Carthy and Roglič are trying to follow
Landa still leading up the climb, Almeida, Roglic and then Mas follow
Those four riders have been joined by Carthy, with a very small gap from a small chasing group
Three more riders now join those eight
Almeida now leading as the final climb approaches. 2.5km from the finish
Michael Woods is one of the riders to have joined the leaders, and exploits a slow down in the pace to attack, 2km from the finish
Woods isn't a threat on GC, and the others aren't chasing him
Woods is climbing, and has a big gap!
But now Almeida has upped the pace in the 7-man chase
Now Roglič takes over, and has dragged the group back to Woods
Roglič leads under the flamme rouge
It's going to be a sprint between these 8 riders...
Now Mas takes the lead
Roglič wins again!
The Slovenian was once again quickest in the sprint, getting the better of Mas and Hart
Mas tried to rival him on the run-in, going toe-to-toe with him on the climb and opening the sprint first, but Roglič passed him in the final metres
Mas tired, enabling Hart to finish second and Almeida third
That's three stages on the trot for Roglič, replicating what his teammate Jonas Vingegaard did at Gran Camiño. An even more astonishing achievement when you consider he wasn't even supposed to be at this race
He's also surely going to take the overall victory now too, with an extended lead on GC and only one flat stage to come. In his first race since crashing out of the Vuelta a España last year, once again the Slovenian has bounced back from adversity looking stronger than ever.
Here are the results in full:
1 Primož Roglič
2 Tao Geoghegan Hart
3 Mikel Landa
4 João Almeida
5 Mikel Landa all at same time
6 Giulio Ciccone at 3 seconds
7 Hugh Carthy at 9 seconds
8 Michael Woods at same time
9 Tom Pidcock at 0-20
10 Wout van Aert at same time
Lennard Kämna wasn't a part of the lead group that sprinted for the win, so falls from second overall. Instead, João Almeida is now Roglič's nearest rival, at 18 seconds. Is that close enough for him to have a go tomorrow, despite the mostly flat parcours?
Tao Geoghegan Hart's second-place finish today is enough to move him up to third overall. This is arguably the best form the Ineos riders has shown since winning the Giro d'Italia three seasons ago
With three successive uphill sprint finishes without especially big time gaps, it's been an unusual Tirreno-Adriatico. And it's also been one ideally suited to Primož Roglič- any race decided by a mixture of time trials and uphill sprints tend to be won by the Slovenian
Roglič is currently busy with podium duties. He's already been up as stage winner, overall leader and leader of the points classification, and will soon be up again for the King of the Mountains
He's been up so many times that he's had to stop taking sips of the champagne prize in order not to get tipsy
You can read the full report of the race here
Thanks for joining us today, be sure to tune in again tomorrow. It's a flat finale, so surely Roglič won't make it four in a row. But he should seal overall victory, and add a second Tirreno-Adriatico title to the one he won in 2019.
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