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"It was unlikely that a break would succeed today but Pete came here and has been going better and better each day. He actually put in a really good ride along with those guys," Cioni says

Photo: Sirotti








18.03.2014 @ 11:12 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

It's rare for Team Sky to mix it up with the early escapees in the flat stages of the big stage races but yesterday the team made an exception when they sent Peter Kennaugh up the road. With Richie Porte out of the race, the team has no longer any hope of overall victory and this opened the door for the unusual tactics.


Pete Kennaugh enjoyed a day at the head of the race at Tirreno-Adriatico as he infiltrated the stage six breakaway.


The Manxman disappeared up the road in a motivated quartet shortly after the start of the 189-kilometre trek from Bucchianico along the coast to Porto Sant’Elpidio.


Joined by Steve Morabito (BMC Racing), Jack Bauer (Garmin-Sharp) and Cesare Benedetti (NetApp-Endura), the group always faced a tough battle against a relentless peloton full of sprint squads.


Despite a valiant effort Kennaugh sat up heading onto the bell lap as the sprint trains took hold. A technical run-in produced carnage after a number of Lotto Belisol riders crashed coming out of the final right-hand turn, leaving Mark Cavendish unchallenged en route to the line.


Positioning was key heading into the finale and with his Omega Pharma – Quick-Step train occupying the front positions the British national champion had no issues winning the stage, leading home a one-two ahead of team-mate Alessandro Petacchi and a stretched chasing pack.


The group finish enabled Mikel Nieve to retain a strong sixth place overall with just the final time trial remaining. Team Sky’s Spaniard sits two minutes and 50 seconds behind the blue jersey of Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo).


The main test for the sprinters came in the form of the climb at Sant’Elpidio a Mare with just over 40km remaining. Keen to put the pressure onto their rivals Cannondale hit the front, upping the pace in a move which distanced one of the pre-stage favourites, Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano).


The German slipped back and into a second group on the road and despite a high-speed chase there was no catching the peloton.


"It was unlikely that a break would succeed today but Pete came here and has been going better and better each day," sports director Dario Cioni said. "He actually put in a really good ride along with those guys. If Cannondale hadn’t ridden so hard over the climb to drop the sprinters then they might well have made it.


"Ian (Stannard) did a great job with Mikel to keep him up front and then we also wanted to help Bernie (Eisel) try the sprint today. But with the crash a lot of guys had to check up and it was too hard to get back. It was a shame as Bernie does so much for the team and we wanted to help him get a result if it was possible."


You can read our preview of the final stage here and follow our love coverage at 14.15 CET on



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