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“I was never expecting this win. It’s special because I won’t win it again. It was the one chance in my life. So I’m happy I got it and that I took it. I’m proud to be the first Belgian winner after Roger De Vl...

Photo: RCS Sport - ANSA / PERI - ZENNARO

ALEJANDRO VALVERDE

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ALEX DOWSETT

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ALEXANDRE GENIEZ

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BMC RACING TEAM

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BAUKE MOLLEMA

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BOB JUNGELS

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BORA-HANSGROHE

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CAJA RURAL - SEGUROS RGA

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CESARE BENEDETTI

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DIEGO ULISSI

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DIMENSION DATA

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EDVALD BOASSON HAGEN

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FABIAN CANCELLARA

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GREG VAN AVERMAET

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GROUPAMA-FDJ

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IAM CYCLING

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JARLINSON PANTANO

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JENS DEBUSSCHERE

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JOAQUIM RODRIGUEZ OLIVER

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JOHAN LE BON

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KATUSHA ALPECIN

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LOTTO SOUDAL

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MAARTEN TJALLINGII

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MICHAL KWIATKOWSKI

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MITCHELTON-SCOTT

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MOVISTAR TEAM

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PETER SAGAN

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QUICK-STEP FLOORS

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SEBASTIEN REICHENBACH

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STEPHEN CUMMINGS

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SØREN KRAGH ANDERSEN

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TEAM LOTTONL-JUMBO

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TEAM SUNWEB

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THIBAUT PINOT

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TIESJ BENOOT

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TIRRENO - ADRIATICO

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TONY MARTIN

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TREK - SEGAFREDO

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UAE TEAM EMIRATES

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VASIL KIRYENKA

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VINCENZO NIBALI

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15.03.2016 @ 22:32 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Fabian Cancellara (Trek) continued his love affair with the final Tirreno-Adriatico time trial by taking a fourth win on the flat course in San Benedetto del Trento. The Swiss was in a class of his own as he beat Johan Le Bon (FDJ) by a massive 13 seconds over the 10.05km distance while Tony Martin (Etixx-QuickStep) was another two seconds behind in third. Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) took the biggest stage race victory of his career after a huge drama as he beat Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) into second by a 1-second margin, with Bob Jungels (Etixx-QuickStep) being a distant third after a disappointing ride against the clock.

 

We have gathered several reactions.

 

Greg Van Avermaet: It’s the first and last time I will win Tirreno-Adriatico

Greg Van Avermaet has put in a stellar individual time trial performance on the final day of Tirreno-Adriatico to secure the overall race victory.

 

Van Avermaet was the last rider to hit the course and stopped the clock on the 10km ITT with one second to spare over runner-up Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) and 23 seconds on Bob Jungels (Etixx-Quick-Step) who rounded out the podium. Fabian Cancellara claimed victory in the time trial.

 

“One second is not a lot but it was enough to win the race. I knew it would be close and I’m not the best time trialist but I hoped to beat Sagan. I’m really happy that the one second difference is on my side. I never dreamed about winning Tirreno-Adriatico but I did it,” Van Avermaet said.

 

Van Avermaet is the first Belgian rider to win Tirreno-Adriatico since 1977.

 

“It’s amazing to win this race and it’s really nice to have this on my palmares. I’m feeling really confident going into Milan-San Remo this Saturday. The Classics are still my main goal but I’m going in with a few nice victories in my pocket. It’s nice to now go to the first big Classic a bit more relaxed.

 

“I was never expecting this win. It’s special because I won’t win it again. It was the one chance in my life. So I’m happy I got it and that I took it. I’m proud to be the first Belgian winner after Roger De Vlamenick. It’s a hard race. Perhaps my Tour de France stage win was more important, but this is special too.

 

"One second is not a lot but it's enough for me to win. It was not my best time trial today but I'm happy that this one second is my side. I never thought I'd win Tirreno-Adriatico and I did it, almost 40 years after my compatriot Roger de Vlaeminck. It's amazing to win this race. Only one second is enough for me! ”

 

“That’s racing,” he said when asked about the criticism of his tactic in stage 6. “We make decisions. Sometimes I ride, sometimes I don’t. I decided not to work because we had Tejay [van Garderen] and [Damiano] Caruso behind. The break was not the best situation for us; they had to gain time on me, not me on them. I think I pull the most time when I’m in a break. Yesterday I didn’t, but that’s racing.

 

“Maybe I changed a bit, but I think I’m the guy who will try to attack. Yesterday I was lucky to have a few GC guys up there, and so I could not work and that allowed me to save myself.

 

“Small things happened at the right moment. Yesterday I took time to wait for the sprint and that’s part of winning and losing. It’s about a tiny decision and a few seconds. It’s happened to me and put me in a good position and that’s made the difference.

 

"I have not changed my riding style. I am a rider who attack and try to win as well. And when I attack, I've always been a rider who made ​​a lot of effort. None of that has changed. Yesterday I made ​​the right decision for the sprint, but that's because we had Tejay Van Garderen and Damiano Caruso. I waited and it paid off. It was the right decision. I often say you have to have legs to win but that is not enough. The difference between us is so small. It is also a matter of taking the right decision at the right time.

 

"I have had a little luck. I have been at a high level for years, but there were always small details that did not work. Now it happens that everything works. I think this win will also help me for the future. I was second and third in the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix third. You need the luck to get everything working and for now it is on my side.

 

“Today, I knew it would be a hard circuit for me. I was informed of the split time that went up to 5 seconds. I tried to go as fast as I could. It was about pushing as hard as possible and I gave it all. I think I did a good time trial. It was not my best but also not my worst. I like courses with more corners. Straight roads aren’t my forte for racing alone.

 

“Beating Sagan means I’m winning a lot. I’ve beaten him a few times and it’s often been close. But cycling is about winning, and I’m really happy to win Tirreno-Adriatico. I never expected it. It was close at just one second. I knew it would be a hard circuit for me, but I’m happy to have won.
 

"I know how it feels to be so close. I imagine his frustration. I’ve come second myself too many times. I’m sure a big victory in the World Champion's jersey will come to him soon. Again, this is often a matter of right decisions at the right time. I also think that for the time trial, when I knew that we were so close to the middle, I made ​​the right choice to focus on my own race. I know what it's like to be second. You always have to keep in mind that one day you will win. Peter is strong. And maybe he will win in San Remo and then we won’t talk more. But for sure there will be other great victories after his World Champion’s jersey.


“I knew it would be hard at the end. We had the same split, but then I was five seconds down. I’d tried to match his time, but in the end I was giving it everything and focusing on my ride. I think I did a good TT, maybe not best but not worst. I like more corners, but it is what it is and I’m just happy that I won.

 

“I’ve ridden Milan-San Remo a few times and been alone on the Poggio and second on the descent.  I had a few good rides but it’s hard to win Milan-San Remo. It’s a lottery but a strong guy always wins. A lottery between the strongest riders.In Milan-San Remo, there is a time when you have to decide and it must be done in a fraction of a second. I’m confident after this week and I’m ready for Milan-San Remo.

 

“It can just be a detail that decides between winning and losing. I’ll go forward and think about the race in the next few days. I’ve got a good sprint, too, after a hard race. We’ll see how it goes.”

 

“Milan-San Remo is a strange race, so better to have a few leaders because so much can happen. I tried to attack on the Poggio and Gilbert crashed on the descent. I hope he can be fast back on the bike and be there for rest of classics.

 

“A lot of small things didn’t come right in the past. Now luck is on my side this year. I have the engine to be up there. I’m in for a big win in the classics also".

 

BMC Racing Team Sports Director Max Sciandri said the team had its sights set on overall victory from the start.

 

“We went in with Tejay van Garderen as leader and Greg was really our guy for the stage wins. We had a brilliant week with the TTT victory on the first day and then Greg’s stage win yesterday. It was really unfortunate for Tejay who lost time yesterday in a crash that caused him to need a wheel change. For the team to still walk away with the overall win is amazing,” Sciandri said.

 

“Even before he was in contention for the GC, Greg was really solid. Sometimes it pays off for the strong riders like Greg. The confidence, the morale, the motivation is all there now for Milan-San Remo. Tirreno-Adriatico now goes into his palmares as a great race to win.”

 

BMC Racing Team finish Tirreno-Adriatico with two stage wins, the stage 1 team time trial and Van Avermaet’s stage 6 victory, as well his overall race win.

 

Fabian Cancellara: My form is just business as usual, Van Avermaet is Sanremo favourite

Fabian Cancellara crushed the Tirreno-Adriatico time trial, powering through the flat 10.1-kilometer course in a time of 11:08 (54.4km/h) and grabbing his fourth victory in six years.

 

Cancellara won the stage seven race against the clock in 2011 and 2012, finished second in 2014, and obliterated his winning time in 2015 by a full 15 seconds Tuesday, dominating the short time trial that has concluded the week long race since 2011.

 

"It was windy fast, short and, yeah, it felt good," said Cancellara, clearly enjoying some of his best form in a few years. "I mean it was very hard; it may have seemed easy, but it was not.

 

"I didn't do anything specific today, with such a short time trial I focused on pure power. I did not have the easiest week, and I am really happy with my performance. I went out like a mad man, with everything I had.”

 

Cancellara set the fastest split time by nine seconds, and by the finish he added a few more for good measure, flying over the line 13 seconds ahead of second place Johan Le Bon (FDJ), and 15 more than rival Tony Martin (Etixx-Quick Step). 

 

None of the riders to follow, including the final starters in the fierce battle of the general classification, would better the times of the top three early finishers.

 

"On one side of the course you enjoy to go 60km/h, but on the other side you have to really push the pedals, and it's painful," explained Cancellara about the non-technical, flat parcours. "The speed bumps on the way out you hit at 60km/h and with the wind and cobblestones, you have to be careful and find the right line. They are not that fun.
 
"It's a race of pure concentration – you have adrenaline the whole time, but you have to focus on pushing, focus on the road, the asphalt, focus on breathing, and also try to find a way to go over your limit. This is about the clock, about who goes the fastest, so you have to find a way to go on a level where you are normally not riding. It's an over-limit race.

 

"The last two kilometers look flat, but especially from kilometer two to one, it feels a little bit uphill, around 0.5 to almost 1 percent gradient and that makes it really hard. The last kilometer is endless long; there it's hard for the head, and you have to push a lot.

 

"When I saw 1k to go my legs felt already empty, full of lactic acid, everywhere, almost out of your ears. You have to give all-in, all that you have, until the end because the finish line is what counts; there you can stop breathing and stop thinking.

 

"I rode it flat out from the gun as I usually do. I didn't ride too much this morning because I needed all my body to push the pedals this afternoon. It might have looked easy but it was hard to ride along the sea. This is my fourth win at San Benedetto del Tronto and also my fourth victory of the year. It makes me happy. I even come out of this Tirreno-Adriatico in a better shape than I started it.

 

"For sure there have been other time trials in my career that I’ll remember but besides the World Championships and the Olympic Games, this one is special. It’s my fourth and last one in San Bendetto del Tronto. I’ll keep good memories from all my time trials here. Every year it’s been a challenge, I’ve lost some of them and it helped me win others.

 

”Today’s victory brings me a positive feeling because I didn’t start the week of racing at my best. I wasn’t 100% healthy at the beginning. Stage 5 was cancelled. It was a good thing for me and in general. We didn’t have any rain, which helped me to recover. Now I can rest ahead of my last Milan-Sanremo. That will be another special one.

 

“I don’t think my form is incredible, it’s more like business as usual. The parcours seemed to be faster this year because of the weather, and I just did what I had to do.

 

"If we look back at this race, we would not usually have had today's winner. The course was designed for climbers and not classics riders. It definitely changed things. I have had my health problems but I do not look back and do not cry as I look ahead and I do not look at the others.

 

“I’m really happy to win again. I’ve finished a tough week on a high and now its time to rest up and enjoy this win. It’s time for the president of my fan club to give me a fourth magnum of Sassicaia ride wine as he promised me for every victory this season.

 

“I wasn’t 100% healthy at the start of this week but I’ve done the work I need to do. I’ve seen that my rivals are strong too and I saw how Sagan and Van Avermaet fought hard for victory here. The Classics will be a fascinating battle with those two and other riders who aren’t here.

 

"I'm not the favorite for San Remo. I think Van Avermaet is favorite with six stars, then there are a lot of guys. I'll be there, but I consider Milan-San Remo as the hardest race of the year. And I think more about the Flemish classic. San Remo has to make me ready for the following classics. I have experience but also rely good legs. I'm not sure right now. If they give me four stars for San Remo, that's fine.

 

“For me it’s now recovery mode because I hadn’t the best feeling this week. You see Van Avermaet, Sagan and Stybar had a nice battle. They’re the guys to watch in Sanremo, the pressure and responsibility goes to them.

 

“I ate my last ever plate of lasagne in the usual hotel in San Benedetto del Tronto last night and I know I won’t be back racing next year. I won’t change my mind.

 

“Next spring I’ll know I can book a skiing holiday without asking the team or look at my contract. That makes me feel at ease. That doesn’t mean I won’t be making huge sacrifices until the very end of my career, I will. But this year all the sacrifices are easier to make and I’m making even more than ever as the road gets steeper.

 

“If you want to win, you’ve got to work hard and give it everything. I’m using my experience but I'm also racing carefree and on instinct like a young rider. I hope to race like that until the very end of my career.”

 

Bauke Mollema: I feel like this race never started

While the stage win was a fight between the time trial specialists, the final riders went to war in a separate battle for the overall victory.  

 

Bauke Mollema gave a strong performance in the time trial to finish in a time of 11:48 to move him from 12th to 9th place in the general classification.

 

"I did all I could. It's a good day for the team, we won with Fabian and I finished in the top 10 and that was the maximum result we could do for this week," said Mollema. "Of course, I did not come here for 9th place, but looking at the circumstances and the cancellation of the mountain stage, I have to be satisfied with this, I could not do more. 

 

"I think my level is good, I had a good week, but it's a strange scenario for me: I am going home with a feeling that it never really started because we never had any real climb. That is a pity, but that's cycling, we cannot control the weather."

 

The GC war ended in one of the closest finishes possible: Greg Van Avermaet squeezed out the overall win by one second, crossing the line seven seconds slower than Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) to clinch the blue leader's jersey. Bob Jungels (Etixx-Quick Step) rounded out the top three.

 

"We are super happy that Fabian won the TT today, but more so with how he won with such a big difference – his form is super," said director Dirk Demol. "On the other side we did not get to play for the overall for Bauke, it's fully understandable we could not race the mountain stage, it was not possible, but it is regrettable. When we see the time trial that he did today we could be top five or more, so it is a little disappointing. But now onward to Milan-Sanremo and the Flemish Classics, especially Flanders and Roubaix."

 

Peter Sagan frustrated by Van Avermaet's tactic after near-miss

In one of the closest-fought races in the history of Tirreno-Adriatico, Peter Sagan took second in the overall GC, just one second off the top spot of the podium. In an incredible performance on the Individual Time Trial on the last day, Sagan completed the 10.05km course in 11:32, with Maciej Bodnar putting in an amazing performance to come 6th on the stage, with a time of 11:25. Sagan takes the Maglia Rossa for his performance in the points classification.

 

With Tirreno-Adriatico’s road race ending on stage 6 and only seconds separating the top three, there was everything still to race for on stage 7, where the outcome of the Race of the Two Seas was to be decided on the individual time trial. The course was a straight ‘out and back’ route over a flat 10.05km course in the picturesque seaside town of San Benedetto del Tronto on Italy’s east coast.

 

From the start, Peter Sagan went on the attack. Setting a time of 11:32 it was then a matter of waiting to see how his rivals in the GC performed. As the seconds ticked on, it was clear that Sagan had set a strong time. It was all down to the last rider – but as BMC’s Van Avermaet crossed the line, only a second separated Sagan and first place.

 

“You can always say if, if, if... but today it didn't happen for us in the end,” Sport Director, Lars Michaelsen, said after the race. “Peter was really battling to recover from his efforts in the previous days and still did, in my opinion, a great time trial. Maciej Bodnar did a strong ride to finish in the top ten and we used his time splits for Peter.”

 

Looking back on the week, Sagan was happy to finish on the podium. “If you look at the result, it’s easy to be disappointed, but I’m not – if it weren’t for the cancelled stage I wouldn’t be here fighting for the win. I think I rode a good time trial; I’ve done my best to be here and in this position in the GC, and I did my best today as well. I’ve won stages here in the past, so it’s a pity I didn’t make it this year, however, I have big goals ahead in the season, so if you look at it from that point of view overall it went very well.

 

“There are time trials I've won in my life. I think I went well, but not great. How can you know how your rivals go? I did my best. It went how it went, that's it. My form could be the best in the world, but results count.”


“That's not my style,” Sagan said when asked about Van Avermaet’s tactic yesterday. “I also had teammates behind, Etixx had teammates behind! I've been many times in escapes with Nibali and Rodriguez here in Tirreno and they pulled hard.

“It's not my style to win like that. However, I can't say anything because cycling is like that. One pulls and another no, everyone decides what to do. Then, okay the race goes how it goes.

“If they had not cancelled the stage we wouldn't even be here to fight for the GC. I lost by one second. I'm not upset; I'm content with how it went. Maybe even more motivated for the races to come.”

"After the finish it is always easy to see mistakes. Today I fought all the way to the end. It was a strange Tirreno as one day was lost. Thus the sprinters and the riders who cannot climb were still in front in the rankings. Also yesterday was a strange stage, but well, I did my best. It's true that I now have a lot of second places but I have confidence that the first place will come. Moreover, I’m happy with my form. This race puts me on the right track for my coming goals.

 

“Overall I’m happy with what we’ve achieved in Tirreno-Adriatico,” Sagan continued. “The team did brilliant work and my teammates worked hard, but my form is very good and I think now that we can safely tackle the rest of the season.

 

Michaelsen was supportive of the team and the way they had raced together.

 

“The positive note for me and the team is that it was a good result overall, together with the other stages, and we have to keep going on winning. We came here to win a stage and came close on several occasions, which is frustrating.”

 

Looking forward, Michaelsen was pleased with the team’s form for the Classics.

 

 “The guys have got a lot of race kilometres in the legs ahead of an important part of the season, the Classics, and this will be very important and they can use this to keep getting stronger. Yesterday's ride in particular they demonstrated what a strong team we are and we can carry that thought forward to keep pushing and as motivation.”

 

With Milan-San Remo the next race on Sagan’s calendar, he felt it was too soon to talk about his chances, having only just completed Tirreno-Adriatico.

 

“San Remo is the next main goal but it’s still five days away, so at this stage it’s too early to talk about it. There are many favourites and we shall see on Saturday what will happen. I feel I’m in good form, but even if you’re in perfect form you’re not guaranteed to have the best result.

 

“The list of favourites for Sanremo includes others, not only me. I'll be there competing with them. Eyear I've been able to win at least one stage here. This year, I wasn't able to win but I have other goals ahead. So you know, maybe if you take the measure of everything together, it went well for me. My condition is good. I can start my season calmly from here.”

 

Amazing time trial by entire FDJ team confirms huge progress
The FDJ team impressed everyone in the final stage of Tirreno-Adriatico. Johan Le Bon was only beaten by Fabian Cancellara. Alexandre Geniez took seventh place while in the overall standings, the team had two riders in the top 5 with Sébastien Reichenbach (4th) and Thibaut Pinot (5th) who both finished the stage in the top 20.

 

The performance of the FDJ team is reflected in other figures: they won the team classification on the stage which has never happened before, let alone in the World Tour. This evening they are fifth in in the team classification for the WorldTour which is also new. Sébastien Reichenbach improved 30 seconds in the time trial compared to 2015 and is eleventh in the individual WorldTour ranking, just ahead of Thibaut Pinot (14th) while Steve Morabito and Arnaud Démare are in the Top 30.

 

"We did a big time trial,” says a very proud sports director Yvon Madiot. “Johan Le Bon is in his place. For me he should always be in the top 5 in time trials and it is especially interesting that he took pleasure all week working for Thibaut. Every day he was the first who took on the task, he ate the wind and has daily been praised by his leader. He finished the race in great shape. He understood that such work does not prevent you from having results.”

 

Besides the very good result of Le Bon, the FDJ team had another rider in the top 10 with Alexandre Geniez who is certainly a complete ride, able to time trial and climb and above all now also gaining consistency. He's making progress.

 

"Alexandre finished 5 seconds behind Jojo, Sebastien and Thibaut are 14 seconds behind,” says Madiot. “It validates our progress. Now all riders are confident in their material, in the work that their coaches ask them to do. They are happy and it pays off. When we made our quick tour to the rooms this morning, there was no ambiguity. Everyone was ready and happy to go to work. I note that only Nibali was a second faster today than our two leaders who were separated by tenths of a second but in the overall standings they are the two best of the bunch after remaining in contact with the classics rider throughout the week and in racing scenarios that were not favorable to them. In the category of feather weight, they won! What would have been the result if the mountain stage had not been cancelled?”

 

Pinot: We have confirmed that we can match the best in the time trials

"It was a good week . I was able to finish in the top 10 although there was no mountain stage," Pinot told Velopro.net. "Also in this race we have demonstrated improvements in the team and individual time trial. We have shown that we have the level of the other teams in the time trial."

 

Pinot will now turn his attention to the Criterium International where the ambition is to improve the second place of last year: "I hope to also be able to show the maximum potential in that race. I want to test myself on the climbs because this year I have not done the real climbs." 

 

Bob Jungels: I am happy to be on the podium after a bad day

It was the decisive day of this season's "Race of the Two Seas", and Bob Jungels didn't disappoint. Fourth in the overall ranking ahead of the 10.1-km long, the 23-year-old – who was lying 13 seconds off the podium before the start of stage seven – knew he had to put in a strong ride on the flat course in San Benedetto del Tronto, and this was exactly what he did. Jungeæs, who's in his third year as a professional, gave his all in the short stage which concluded the 51st edition, and in the end this helped him jump a place in the general classification and finish third, behind Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) and Peter Sagan (Tinkoff), thus recording his first ever World Tour podium.

 

"Although today I didn't have the legs I was hoping for, I fought until the very end to get in the top 3. We knew it would come down to just a couple of seconds and I'm satisfied that I managed to pull it off even on a bad day", said Bob Jungels, one of the brightest talents on the pro scene. The Luxembourg rider, who rode Tirreno-Adriatico for the first time in his career, clinching not just third in the rankings, but also the white jersey for the best young rider, continued: "We can be really satisfied with the race: we got two stage wins, a second place in the opening team time trial and we were always there at the front. The last two days were a bit hard for us, but in the end we have to be happy with the race we had. I am satisfied with my maiden World Tour podium, which gives me a lot of confidence for the next appointments of the season. I am looking to a great future together with Etixx – Quick-Step. Even in the difficult moments we stick together, we are a real team and I just love it here.

 

"Team wise we can be satisfied with our week of racing. We would have signed for such a result: two stage wins, second in the team time trial and my first podium in a World Tour race. It’s great for myself and the team. It helps me looking forward to the next target".

 

Tony Martin: Fabian Cancellara was unbeatable

Another Etixx – Quick-Step rider to finish on the podium, but on the stage, was Tony Martin, who came third, behind Fabian Cancellara (Trek-Segafredo) and Johan Le Bon (FDJ), a strong result for the 30-year-old German, considering he came close to crashing on the first corner of the San Benedetto del Tronto individual time trial after what was a fast and furious start.

 

” 3. place in last tt in#TirrenoAdriatico. Even I did a big mistake in a corner @f_cancellara was unbeatable today,” he tweeted after the stage.

 

Also, the last stage of Tirreno-Adriatico saw Zdenek Stybar conclude seventh in the GC, while Gianluca Brambilla came 12th, only 4 seconds outside the top 10, despite not having the possibility to show his strong legs on the big ascents, giving that the race's sole high altitude finish was cancelled due to bad weather. On top of all, the entire squad got to climb on the podium to take the honours for the best team in a race which saw no less than 23 outfits line up at the start, one week ago in Lido di Camaiore.

 

Gianluca Brambilla, Fernando Gaviria, Bob Jungels, Yves Lampaert, Tony Martin, Zdenek Stybar, Matteo Trentin and Julien Vermote were the team's riders for "The Race of the Two Seas", and all eight completed the event, while giving their all day by day, an attitude which made sport director Davide Bramati proud and confident that the team can go only up from this point on: "It was a great Tirreno-Adriatico for us, starting with the second place on the first day and continuing with the two stage victories, the one of Styby and that of Fernando, who confirmed again his huge potential. There's also the team classification win, which rewards the riders who worked relentlessly during the whole race and the staff who was always there, helping and supporting the guys at all times. Anyway, it wasn't only about the victories or the podiums or the strong results we recorded. Another very important aspect was to see that the team is working hard and is staying close regardless of what's happening, and what we did during this race made us happy."

 

Alex Dowsett pleased with time trial progress, disappointment for Valverde

Headwinds on most of the day’s route was a support for the early starters and made things harder for the last ones on the start list. In the opening hour, Alex Dowsett (Movistar Team) completed his best time trial since last May’s win in the Bayern-Rundfahrt, 4th behind an unstoppable Fabian Cancellara (TFS) and Johan Le Bon (FDJ), and equal with ex World champion Tony Martin (EQS). Nelson Oliveira finished in 14th place.

 

On the other hand, things did not go so well for the three Movistar Team riders in the tight contest for the GC in the Adriatic coast. Alejandro Valverde, 50" off Cancellara’s pace at the finish, took his Tirreno to an end in 18th spot, as Giovanni Visconti and Dani Moreno, both hit hard by the long straights and absolute flat of today’s route, left the race in 16th - best Blue overall - and 23rd, respectively. The Movistar Team came just 21” short of beating Etixx for the teams’ classification.

 

”4th and being that close to 3rd and 2nd smarts a little but I'm content with that, good progress lately, onwards and upwards,” Dowsett tweeted after the stage.

 

Vincenzo Nibali: This shows that my form is good

"A good sixth place overal and I did a good time trial. That means I'm feeling good," commented Vincenzo Nibali. 

 

"We have been one of the best teams, everyone has done his job and probably with the uphill finish it would have been better. I feel very sorry for Michele Scarponi, he had good legs and he was growing. He will come back very soon," said Astana sports director Alexandr Shefer.

 

Edvald Boasson Hagen: I am up there with the others

Norwegian time trial champion Edvald Boasson Hagen held the flag high for Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka by finishing 8th on the day.

 

Boasson Hagen got off to a good start and would come close to eventual race winner Cancellara at the intermediate check, clocking the 2nd fastest time of the day at this point. Even though he wasn’t able to keep his pace towards the end, the effort meant another fine top10 finish for the African team. 

 

Steve Cummings also proved to be in form after his stage win earlier this week. He would come home only a few seconds off of Boasson Hagen in 13th place, with Kanstantsin Siutsou rounding out yet another solid team performance.

 

Boasson Hagen ended 17th in the GC as the team's highest placed finisher. 

 

Sports director Roger Hammond said:
 

“It has been a good week for us. Tirreno-Adriatico is one of the first World Tour races in Europe and to come away with a stage victory as one of only a few teams is really good. Sure, we did have our ups and downs, but luckily our ups were really high. The team worked well together and it has been a great preparation for the upcoming Milan-San Remo.”

 

”I was feeling good today, even though I didn’t go fast enough to get onto the podium,” Boasson Hagen said. “Overall it has been a good week for me. I’m up there with the others which is good to know, thinking of the races to come.”

 

”I started a bit top slowly today,” Cummings said. “Putting that into perspective I did a solid ride. The week has been good for me. It was difficult for to come here as I didn’t know where a was in terms of form. But I quickly found my rhythm and the win on stage 4 was a really nice result. I think it was a good start of the season for me.”

 

Difficult time trial for Kwiatkowski, course too short for Kiryienka

Michal Kwiatkowski finished eighth overall at Tirreno-Adriatico after the race's final stage, a 10km time trial.

 

Vasil Kiryienka finished ninth on the day, 20 seconds behind winner Fabian Cancellara, with Kwiatkowski coming home a further 19 seconds back.

 

Cancellara (Trek-Segafredo) set a time of 11 minutes and eight seconds to take the stage by a comfortable margin from Johan Le Bon (FDJ) and Tony Martin (Etixx - Quick-Step).

 

Kwiatkowski started the day looking to move up the standings but couldn't overhaul those in front of him. Greg van Avermaet (BMC) finished eight seconds ahead of Kwiatkowski on the stage to take the title, dramatically beating Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) by just one second.

 

Wout Poels, Pete Kennaugh and Salvatore Puccio all completed the exposed course, an out-and-back run along the San Benedetto del Tronto harbour, in under 12 minutes, while Elia Viviani and Michal Golas stopped the clock at 12'06" and 12'04" respectively.

 

Speaking exclusively to TeamSky.com back at the team bus, Sport Director Dario Cioni said he was happy with the team's performance in Italy, adding that the cancellation of the queen stage due to bad weather put paid to the team's chances of the overall win.

 

He said: "The team rode well together across the week. Obviously the stage we were all waiting for didn't happen - that was a bit disappointing for the guys. The team had been set up for a climbing day that wasn't there in the end.

 

"We still tried to win a few stages though and Kwiato came third yesterday, he was on the attack in the lead group and gained some time, so that was good.

 

"It was Kwiato's first TT of the season today and that's always a bit difficult, but it's a good exercise for his next race. He goes away with a top-10 performance, he should be happy, and this puts him in a good place to go to the upcoming one-day races.

 

"Without the mountain finish it was tough for Wout [Poels] but he tried to do his best, and he did a good TT today. Overall I'd say it's been an encouraging week."

 

Cioni believes Kiryienka may have improved upon his ninth place finish if Tuesday's stage was longer.

 

He added: "We know Kiry is a machine. The TT today was a bit short for him so we always knew that he would do his best, but it would be hard to perform. He also rode a good TT - and we saw an exceptional performance by Cancellara to win the day."


IAM with mixed emotions after Tirreno-Adriatico

“Overall, I am satisfied with what I’ve seen of the team at Tirreno.  We made a bit of a mistake during stage two that cost us time,” explained IAM Cycling directeur sportif Kjell Carlström. “But the overall performance of the team was not poor.  It is promising.  I saw the squad unite around Leigh Howard, who did finish fifth in a difficult and heavily contested sprint.  I also saw the guys work as a true team.  Our riders will emerge from this week having accomplished an excellent block of work.  This will put them in a great position to tackle the classics in good condition; not only Milan-San Remo which is just around the corner, but also the Vuelta Catalunya.”

 

The disappointment was the time lost on stage two. 

 

“We were not concentrated enough in the final,” said Kjell Carlström.  “These sorts of mistakes can happen.  But when we are aiming for the general classification, we cannot afford to make them.  A race can be lost at any moment, by one second.  This is what happened for us.”

 

In Pomarance, Jarlinson Pantano and Mathias Frank crossed the line having lost 1’23 '' and 1'33 '', respectively, on the winner.

 

The good note was the performance in the team time trial. 

 

“We did an excellent time for the team time trial on the first day,” Carlström, the team’s Finnish directeur sportif, emphasized.  “The whole team worked very well together, and that is exactly what we wanted to see.  We have made huge advancements in our performance in this discipline.” 

 

IAM Cycling finished in fifth place for this stage, just twelve seconds behind world champions BMC over the roads of Lido di Camaiore.

 

Since Pantano came with the intention of playing a role in the overall standings, the Colombian rider finished the Tirreno-Adriatico with a slightly bitter taste in his mouth.  Nevertheless, he is satisfied to have gained some more fitness and experience during his week in Italy. 

 

“All is not wasted,” Pantano said.  “My sensations on the bike were excellent.  My next race will be the Tour of Catalonia.  I will go there most importantly with the intention of helping Mathias Frank.  But I will not exclude the possibility of playing my own card for a stage win.”

 

On Monday, Heinrich Haussler and Roger Kluge decided to increase their work load on Monday, so rode the 60 kilometers to the hotel after the stage finished. Considering the stage already took in 210 kilometers, it turned into quite a long day, or as Marcello Albasini said, “ideal preparation” for next Saturday’s Milan-San Remo.

 

Orica-GreenEDGE forced to shelve GC ambitions in Tirreno-Adriatico

Tirreno-Adriatico concluded today with a 10kilometre individual time trial in San Benedetto del Tronto. The race of the two seas was won by Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), with Adam Yates the best placed rider for ORICA-GreenEDGE in nineteenth position on the overall general classification.

 

Fabian Cancellara (Trek-Segafredo) won stage seven with an emphatic victory in the individual time trial.

The race has not been without incident, when the decision to cancel Sundays mountainous Queen Stage, because of snow, led to unrest and frustration from a few of the participating teams. For ORICA-GreenEDGE, the week spent racing across Italy has given the team a valuable workout going into the Spring Classics.

 

Sports director Matthew White was satisfied with how the race unfolded and praised the attitude and effort of the team.

 

“We came in with two goals for the race, one was to win a stage and the other was to support Adam in the general classification.

 

“We came close on two stages with Caleb (Ewan) and without the mountain stage on Sunday, Adam did well to finish where he did on the general classification.”

 

“We are not far away from where we wanted to be at this stage of the season,” continued White. “In general our condition is good and we are in a good position going into the Spring Classics and the next part of the season.”

 

Luke Durbridge finished in 25th position on the stage, only 31seconds down on Fabian Cancellara. Colombian Esteban Chaves continued his grand tour preparation and placed thirtieth overall, the whole squad came through the week long race without any problems.

 

Kragh Andersen confirms TT potential at WorldTour level

Søren Kragh Andersen covered the fast, flat course in a time of 11’36” and eventually finished in 22nd place.

 

After the time trial, Kragh said: “The TT was very difficult with a high intensity. There was a lot of headwinds once we did the u-turn which was hard. This morning, the team made a good plan and I was able to stick to it.

 

“I still had a lot of power in the end and for me, it was a really nice experience. I gave it everything and I couldn’t have gone any faster and I can be very happy with my result.”

 

Giant-Alpecin coach Marc Reef said: “The weather played an important role today with strong winds during the time trial. We applied a good pacing strategy and Søren did a really strong performance today.

 

“On the team’s performance in Italy, I am satisfied with our riders. Ramon [Sinkeldam], Albert [Timmer] and Nikias [Arndt] did a good first race to start off their season. The rest of the team are heading in the right direction and are ready for the upcoming races of the season.

 

“Overall the teamwork and communication were very good between the riders. We tried to take opportunities during the races and we had a strong performance on stage 3 where Zico [Waeytens] sprinted to 7th place.”

 

Injury for Debusschere makes it a difficult Tirreno for Lotto Soudal

Maxime Monfort was the first Lotto Soudal rider in 22nd place. Lotto Soudal returns to Belgium without a stage victory but obtained a few top ten places. Jens Debusschere didn’t start today’s time trial for precautionary reasons. Sports director Bart Leysen evaluates the past week in Italy.

 

“Due to some circumstances we weren’t able to perform as we would. Jens Debusschere crashed rather badly in the Strade Bianche and he had some troubles on the bike during this Tirreno. Therefore we couldn’t play a role in the two sprint stages. The team time trial mainly determined the GC and due to the cancellation of the only mountain stage our chances of a good GC shrunk a lot,” he said.

 

“Tiesj Benoot was involved in a crash during yesterday’s stage but luckily it wasn’t a hard crash. He had no troubles today so it won’t affect his spring season.

 

”The most important thing is that our riders have a better feeling after this Tirreno compared to the start. That’s positive with regard to the big Classics, which begin next Saturday with Milano-San Remo. This race is our next big goal, we participate with a very strong team and I think we’ll be able to do something in the finale.”

 

Zurlo most aggressive rider at Tirreno-Adriatico

Federico Zurlo is the best fighter at Tirreno-Adriatico. The young rider from Team LAMPRE-MERIDAreceived the “Targa Mealli” award as most combative cyclist: he was twice in the main breakaway of the race (2nd and 6th stage) and he constantly demonstrated his competitive attitude.

 

In the time trial Diego Ulissi was the best blue-fuchsia-green rider in 52nd position: he completed the race in 12’04”. Overall he was 27th.

 

Caja Rural shows aggression in Tirreno-Adriatico debut

Tuesday afternoon, Caja Rural - Seguros RGA finished the team’s first ever Tirreno-Adriatico. The final stage of the Italian World Tour race was a 10 km individual time trial in San Benedetto del Tronto won by Fabian Cancellara (Trek - Segafredo). Lluis Mas performed very well, finishing 28th on the stage.
 
The team had high ambitions for the race but the cancellation of stage 5, with the mountain top finish on Monte San Vicino, prevented the climbers from fighting for the top positions in the general classification. José Gonçalves was the team’s best-ranked rider in 37th place. Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) took the overall win.
 
José Gonçalves said: “It was a shame they had to cancel the queen stage. It definitely changed the outcome of the race. On one hand, I’m satisfied because the team worked hard and my condition is good. However, on the other hand, I can’t really be happy because the results weren’t there”.
 
Sports director Eugenio Goikoetxea added: “We wanted to show off the team colors and be protagonists in the race and I think we accomplished that by being represented in the breakaways every day. We may have lacked a little bit in the final moments, but I believe this experience and race rhythm will serve us well for the up-coming races”.
 
The next appointment for Caja Rural - Seguros RGA is Loire-Atlantique, taking place on Saturday.

 

Fair LottoNL-Jumbo asks commissaires to correct wrong fifth place for Leezer

In the spirit of fair play, Team LottoNL-Jumbo called Tirreno-Adriatico race organiser RCS Sport to report that it incorrectly clocked Tom Leezer in the final time trial stage today. It has placed him as fifth, but his time was incorrectly fast.

 

Sports Director Jan Boven timed a ride much slower than the time RCS Sport reported for the stage. Fabian Cancellara (Trek - Segafredo) won the time trial in San Benedetto del Tronto and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team) retained the overall lead.

 

“I followed Tom during his time trial and I measured a time that was 20 seconds slower than Maarten Tjallingii’s,” sports director Jan Boven said. “Because we want the sport to be as fair as possible, we called the jury to say that the result was incorrect.”

 

 

The results were not up to par in the other stages, either.

 

“Everyone in the team has a good physical level,” Boven continued. “But it’s all about the results in the end, and we didn’t deliver them this week. We noticed that our sprint lead-out didn’t develop since the races in Qatar and Oman. We’re upset with that, but it gives us new motivation. It’s all about confidence and instinct.”

 

Primoz Roglic’s development as a classification rider satisfied Boven.

 

“Primoz is a positive guy who wants to work hard. He has to take some steps, as well, but he’s able to do that. He is studious and clever. We didn’t see his potential this week because the mountain stage was cancelled due to weather.

 

“That was a good decision in our opinion, by the way, because it was about the riders’ safety. It looks like Primoz is healthy and fit, and he always was in the right position in the race. Now, he has to learn to perform when at the sharp-end of the race.”

 

Katusha gather important information for Sanremo at Tirreno-Adriatico

There weren’t wins on display at the 54th Tirreno-Adriatico this past week, but nevertheless, Team KATUSHA come away with valuable information for upcoming targeted races, namely Saturday’s Milano-Sanremo.

 

”This was an important week for the next race and we learned a lot this week. Unfortunately they cancelled the mountain stage due to bad weather and that would have been a good stage to test the condition of Rodriguez. He had lost time on the first stage when Losada crashed and had lost a chance there for a good place on the general classification, but originally we looked to this mountain stage to get a sense of where we are,” said team director José Azevedo as he assessed the week’s work.

 

 ”We saw our guys like Vicioso and Haller working very hard and improving all week long as they head to Milano-Sanremo. But we also saw some of the other big hopefuls for Saturday, like Van Avermaet and Sagan and Cancellara. They are in good shape. Of course we go to Sanremo with big ambitions with Alex Kristoff and we will try to win this classic, but it was good to assess the level and condition of all the riders. We are one of the favorites for Saturday but not the only favorite. More teams have riders in condition to win so we will share the responsibility of the race with other teams. Many riders go to this race with the desire to win and no one wants to lose this race,” concluded director Azevedo.

 

Benedetti wins mountains jersey, time trial too short for Barta

As predicted, there were no changes in the KOM classification on the last day. Cesare Benedetti came home safe in last stages’ time trial and he is the winner of the green jersey in this year’s edition of Tirreno – Adriatico.

 

Normally a TT is a race for BORA – ARGON 18 specialist Jan Bárta. But the Czech rider prefers longer time trials, the longer the better. With just 10.1k, this year’ss TT in Tirreno – Adriatico is too short for a rider like him, it suits punchier kinds of riders like Fabian Cancellara who took the win in the concluding stage of Tirreno – Adriatico. Still Jan Bárta showed that his shape is building up steadily, he was 33rd at just 0:38, which is a solid performance.

 

In the final general classification best BORA – ARGON 18 rider is Paul Voss in 33rd place at 2:57.

 

In the end the week between the Italian seas has been a success for BORA – ARGON 18. The win of the mountains jersey means the first victory in special classification in a WorldTour race.

 

"It’s really good for my team Bora - Argon 18 to get this prize,” Benedetti said. “It’s our first in a World Tour race. We’re only a Pro Continental squad. As for myself, I’m delighted with this distinctive jersey. I was a reserve on the entry form. Eventually I started and showed that my form was good, which means I’ve worked well at home. I’m glad I took the opportunity to conquer this prize".

“I think my performance was ok today. For sure I know I can do better, but this TT is little short for me. In general my shape is not at 100% at the moment, but I think I made a step in the right direction from Algarve to here. The gap to the 3rd place was not that big actually. I just need a little more time I think, then I will be back at full strength,” Jan Bárta said.

 

“Today was not my best day. I felt good at the warm up, but it was really cold today and when I started the TT, my legs did not turn well. My muscles felt closed from the cold, and that did not get better until the end. But in general I am very satisfied with my performance here. I think I showed that can stay with the best on the climbs, that makes my confident for the next races. I only lost about 30 seconds on the second stage when I hit the last climb far too far back in the peloton,” said Paul Voss.

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