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“I was sitting at the back of the breakaway group, working like a policeman just to make sure that no one was going to ride away from us. I was up there to nullify the attacks. But with 3km to go, it looked like I was given victory on...

Photo: Sirotti

AG2R LA MONDIALE

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ALEXANDRE VINOKOUROV

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BAUKE MOLLEMA

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BOB JUNGELS

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BORA-HANSGROHE

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CESARE BENEDETTI

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DANIEL MORENO

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DECEUNINCK - QUICK-STEP

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EF PRO CYCLING

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FABIAN CANCELLARA

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JAN BAKELANTS

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JOAQUIM RODRIGUEZ OLIVER

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KATUSHA ALPECIN

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MATTEO MONTAGUTI

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NTT PRO CYCLING TEAM

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NATNAEL BERHANE

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NIKIAS ARNDT

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PATRICK LEFEVERE

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PETER SAGAN

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PRIMOZ ROGLIC

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ROMAN KREUZIGER

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SALVATORE PUCCIO

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SERGEY CHERNETSKIY

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SIMON CLARKE

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STEPHEN CUMMINGS

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SØREN KRAGH ANDERSEN

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TEJAY VAN GARDEREN

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THIBAUT PINOT

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VALERIO CONTI

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12.03.2016 @ 23:12 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Stephen Cummings (Dimension Data) confirmed his status as one of the greatest stage hunters in the cycling world by claiming an impressive solo victory in the hilly stage 4 of Tirreno-Adriatico. Having made it into a six-rider move in the uncontrollable flat run-in after the final climb, he made a well-rimed attack with 3km to go and held off his chasers by 19 seconds before Salvatore Puccio (Sky) beat Cummings’ teammate Natnael Berhane in the sprint for second. Zdenek Stybar (Etixx-QuickStep) finished safely in the peloton and retained the lead.

 

We have gathered several reactions. Some of the statements have been made before it was known that the queen stage has been cancelled.

 

Policeman Cummings: I was given the victory on a plate

The 4th stage of Tirreno-Adriatico turned out to be a dream day for Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka as Steve Cummings took the victory ahead of Salvatore Puccio (Team Sky) with teammate Natnael Berhane finishing in 3rd position.

 

The catch took place with around 30km to go and then there was all to ride for, with 2 short but steep categorised climbs providing the platform for an exciting race. It was on these climbs that Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka showed its strength. The initial plan for the day was to protect Edvald Boasson Hagen and Steve Cummings and Reinardt Janse van Rensburg were doing this to perfection.

 

Trek Factory Racing ramped up the pace on the penultimate climb which saw many riders being dropped from the peloton. By the time the front group went over the final climb of the day at 15km to go, there was only 40 riders left in the peloton. Boasson Hagen still had Cummings and Natnael Berhane for support in this select group.

 

Attacks started to fly from the front group with Cummings and Berhane covering each one, hoping to keep the race together for Boasson Hagen. Puccio then put in a telling attack with 6km to go which Cummings and Matteo Montaguti (Ag2R) followed. The trio got a 10 second gap before 3 riders jumped across the gap to join them, Berhane was part of this move placing the African Team in a great position with 2 riders in the lead group of 6.

 

The chase never seemed to come from the peloton and so with 3km to go, Cummings saw his opportunity and attacked. Nobody could follow the British time trial expert as he soloed to a great win, the first World Tour victory as Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka. Natnael Berhane was part of the sprint for the minor placings and took 3rd place on the line.

 

“The plan for the day was to ride for Edvald,” Cummings said. “In the final when it was just a select group we were trying to close down all the attacks and keep the race together so he could sprint for the victory. When I got away with the Pucchio and Montaguti in the final I didn’t ride on the front because we had Edvald behind. Then Natnael came across and the other guys just kept riding and we sat on. With 3km to go though I saw the victory was being served up on platter for me as the group behind wasn’t coming back, so I took it, I knew I could stay away.

 

”I am happy the team could get the win today, we had the numbers today and it worked out really well for us. It’s a great win for the Team, for our sponsors and for Qhubeka,” Steve Cummings said.

 

"I didn’t look too happy after I won because I felt sorry for my room-mate Edvald Boasson Hagen. We were racing for him. He's in great shape but hasn’t had a great victory – yet. With 10km to go I was marking the other guys, acting as a policeman and closing the gaps to make sure nobody got away. I was fortunate the get in the move but I was not allowed to pull.

 

“I was sitting at the back of the breakaway group, working like a policeman just to make sure that no one was going to ride away from us. I was up there to nullify the attacks. But with 3km to go, it looked like I was given victory on a plate, so I took the opportunity and I’m very happy about that. It was excellent team work with two other riders [Boasson Hagen and Natnael Berhane] in the main group behind us.

 

“I’m really happy we won because the team was strong. We had two riders behind me who controlled things. It’s a great team victory.

 

”At Dimension Data, we don’t have a big leader for the overall classifications. We now have a sprinter with Mark Cavendish but, in every other stage, I enjoy the that helped me to a Tour de France stage win last year.

 

”One year ago after I got sick in February, I didn’t have the race rhythm at this point of the season but today I found it, even though it was a bit of a surprise for me".

 

"I'm really very pleased. I always wanted to win a big race in the spring, such as Tirreno-Adriatico and Paris-Nice, but I never could.  For a ride like me it is hard to win in these races because normally the routes are either for climbers or sprinters and not much else. I'm really a bit 'surprised but pleased . " 

 

"After the first stage I did not feel very well. Yesterday I was a little bit better, but today I was fine, but not super. I'm happy with how the form is growing.

 

"A rider like me, who is not a sprinter or climber, has to be creative and take chances. Today was fantastic.

 

“We were trying to do a stage for Edvald Boasson Hagen, we thought that he was the best chance for today. He’s in super form, so I was there as the policeman but it came to 3km and normally I can do 3km alone. I tried to do that strategy. I don’t know if that was ok but it seemed to work out.

 

“I was pretty confident and pretty aero on the bike. Everybody else had been pulling and I hadn’t been pulling. It was good having Edvald behind because it meant that I didn’t have to do any work. It was a great team performance and I was just lucky at the end.

 

"Every time I do Tirreno I say I want to do the Giro. One year I did the Giro and I suffered. This year I would like to do the Tour de France to return to the Giro next year. I would love to fight for a stage win.

 

“Every victory makes you more confident and you look at yourself and say: ‘I did that.’ Winning takes away the pressure and the big wins help keep you calm in the finale, which is what you need to win.

“Winning is everything. It’s made my career in the last two years. Winning is why I race the bike. I’m very grateful to the team because they give me my freedom. They get a bit stressed if I’m at back but I tell them to stay cool. It’s risky to ride at the front too because they they always crash.”

“I’m not sure about Milan-San Remo at the moment. I missed races in February due to bronchitis and in the first few days here I was struggling to find my rhythm. I found it today but it was a surprise. I’ll either do Milan-San Remo or the Tour of the Basque Country, the Fleche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege.”

“Roger Hammond has to take credit for this win. He said to take it on and not wait to be attacked, do not ride negatively. We rode positively and we got the result,” manager Brian Smith told Cyclingnews.

“The plan was for Edvald today but we said: Make sure you’re there in numbers and over the top we have to take the race on. We cannot wait to be attacked,” That’s what Steve and Natnael Berhane did. Steve looked at an opportunity, like last year at the Tour de France and took it. To get first and third against some of the best bike riders in the world is amazing for the whole team and has lifted us again. We’ve been unlucky in the last couple of days but to get a WorldTour win is fantastic.” 

Natnael Berhane after third place: This is my best result ever

 “I am really happy with the result today. Steve won the stage which is terrific for our team and I was 3rd. This podium placing in a World Tour race is my best result ever, I couldn’t be happier,” Natnael Berhane said.

 

Salvatore Puccio: I knew that Cummings was going to attack

Salvatore Puccio sprinted to second place on stage four of Tirreno-Adriatico after being denied the win by Steve Cummings's decisive solo attack.

 

Cummings (Dimension Data) sprung clear from a reduced group with three kilometres to go and stayed away to take an impressive solo victory. Puccio outsprinted four men to secure second spot in Foligno - a town just 20km from his home - while the reduced peloton rolled home 25 seconds adrift.

 

Puccio had looked like he might pull off a solo victory of his own but was caught by Cummings and Matteo Montaguti (Ag2r-La Mondiale) 5km from the line.

 

The threesome worked together to keep the peloton at bay - and while Daniel Moreno (Movistar) and Jan Bakelandts (Ag2r-La Mondiale) joined them late on - the main bunch couldn't bring them back.

 

Just as those two riders had bridged across, Cummings hit out on his own and quickly built an unassailable lead. Michal Kwiatkowski and Wout Poels meanwhile, finished comfortably in the reduced peloton to stay in the hunt for overall honours.

 

Speaking after the race to TeamSky.com, Puccio said he'd been highly motivated to perform on his 'home stage' and in the end was content with second place.

 

He said: "I wanted to be there at the front and I felt super strong in the last 10km - I was really focused.

 

"I tried to win the stage and I'm a little bit disappointed not to have done that, but second place is still good for my morale, and the team's. I knew the last 10km were flat but that they'd be hard - it was a long stage, 220km, so everyone was on the limit. I'm pleased to finish second so near to my home town - and there is a long season ahead to go for more wins."

 

"I knew the finish very well, almost by heart,” he told Spaziociclismo. “I tried in thelast kilometer of the climb when Ulissi attacked and after the downhill I followed all the actions because I knew the attack could be the good one. We were four at the end but the winner proved to be the strongest .
 

"Unfortunately Cummins had the team behind and I knew he would attack. The legs, however, were as they were. Chapeau to him because he has won so many races in this way so it was a bit expected. In the end it's okay to be second in a home race

 

"This year I have a little more space in the team and so I have proved a good level.”

 

Daniel Moreno takes unexpected fourth place for Movistar

In Italy, the Movistar Team was particularly active during stage four of Tirrneo-Adriatico, sort of a final rehearsal before next Saturday’s Milano-Sanremo over 222km towards a final circuit in Foligno.

 

The riders directed by Jaimerena and Garcia Acost put much energy on the table to pick up the pace in the bunch, with Oliveira, Amador and Dowsett chasing down the day’s early break and taking pressure off the team-mates. This attitude would lead to two moves from the Blues: Giovanni Visconti’s, on the descent following the last climb of Montefalco, 15km from the finish, and Dani Moreno’s, in the flat run-in towards the finish, 4k from the end.

 

Moreno reached the leading break as Stephen Cummings (DDD) jumped away to take the victory, the Spaniard finishing in fourth place at 13”, in the pursuit group’s sprint. The GC remains otherwise unchanged and will unfortunately continue so until Monday: snow covering the course, bad weather forecast and unavailability for an alternative schedule forced the organisers to communicate, this very evening, that tomorrow’s stage five towards Monte San Vicino would be cancelled. The race will resume on Monday, with a 210km flat course to Cepagatti.

 

 "The idea behind putting the team on the front was to intensify the pace to see if we could make a selection and also be well ahead,” Moreno said. “With the tension of the final it was important and you could avoid troubles. 

 

Visco had attacked before but my attack was not planned but it was due to the race situation. The only team that could control was the one that attacked, Dimension Data, and ended up with the victory. I waited a bit to follow the late attack because there was much headwind and when you got to the final corners, it was easier to stay behind because I did not work much. I gave everything to catch the front, and in the end I could reach the front group. But I could not catch Cummings. I was impossible.”

 

Aggressive Bakelants and Montaguti come up short in Tirreno-Adriatico finale

"I tried 10 times,” Montaguti told Spaziociclismo. “On the descent and on the flats with no success. It was the right time for me to get the victory. It was inevitable that the favorite was Cummings. If we had still been three at the finish, he was the big favorite and then at the end there was only the hope of trying to attack. In the end I helped Bakelants to get a result and gain a bit of time in the overall standings. Tomorrow I will join the break. Maybe I will have fewer problems. "

 

"The condition is good but I will try more than anything else to go on the attack tomorrow in a stage for riders that are ready to gamble. I will give everything tomorrow. My Tirreno will be over tomorrow night probably.”

 

"We missed a something in the finale,” sports director Didier Jannel said. The guys had ideas, they were offensive and tried to take a nice win. Jan and Matteo deserved better today, at least a podium.

 

“Jean-Christophe Péraud crashed today but it is not serious. He will be looked afterby the osteopath tonight to make sure all is well.

 

“The cancellation of tomorrow's stage, the only day in the mountains, is a big disappointment for everybody. It was the only opportunity for our climbers to move up in the standings.”

 

Tinkoff: Kreuziger’s crash destroyed Sagan’s chance to win

Tirreno-Adriatico’s points leader, Peter Sagan, further cemented his position after a spirited ride in stage 4 of the race, finishing 7th in the sprint in Foligno. In a stage that was to favour the all-rounders, Sagan showed fighting spirit as he attacked the peloton before contesting the final bunch sprint. The Maglia Rossa is his for another day.

 

The Race of the Two Seas reached its midway point today. With a challenging 222km route that passed over four categorised climbs, it was also the race’s longest day. This was a day when the climbers and all-rounders had a chance to make an impact on the standings.

 

After an early break, Tinkoff riders were instrumental in pulling in the gap. At 30km to go, after catching the lone breakaway rider, the race to the finish began, with teams wondering who was going to make the first move.

 

With 7.9km to go, Sagan, wearing the Maglia Rossa of the points leader, made a move – testing the waters when the other riders were looking the other way – making his intention to take a stage win clear. A marked man in the peloton, however, this wasn’t to be. After a last minute attack by Stephen Cummings, the eventual stage winner, Peter contested the sprint with the peloton, taking 7th place.

 

Sagan was pleased with his performance after a long day’s racing. “It was a really long day. I am happy it started raining after the finish, not before! I tried to attack but everybody wanted to catch me, although I did sprint and won the group.

 

"After I managed to remain with the GC contenders in the hard climb where I’ve seen Fabian Cancellara riding very strongly, I sprinted but not for the stage victory, unfortunately. There were a few riders at the front. Cycling is difficult to understand. When other riders see me in a group, they don’t want to take me to the finish line in a winning situation. But the season is long!"

 

Lars Michaelsen, Tinkoff’s Sport Director, was pleased with the racing, but it was not without its frustrations. “We had a good day, apart from when Roman Kreuziger crashed with 46km to go. A rider fell in front and he had to wait a while for a bike. He got back on but it cost him.”

 

Michaelsen continued. “When the selection came on the final climb, only Roman and Peter made the front group. Roman was on the limit to do the job we planned for Peter. He managed to win the sprint behind the riders away showing his strength again but we were looking at today as a possibility to win. But circumstances were that we were limited at the end. Our strategy was good and we were there with the strongest in the finale but we were limited after Roman's crash.”

 

Tomorrow’s route enters the mountains. Riders will face four categorised climbs, before the final uphill finish on the Monte san Vicino. After a comparatively flat route, this 176km stage will give the climbers a chance to make their mark on the race. Michaelsen was clear of the team’s intention. “We will continue to keep fighting.”

 

Disappointed van Garderen: I will still try to win Tirreno-Adriatico

BMC Racing Team leader Tejay van Garderen was well protected all day by his teammates and crossed the line safely in the reduced peloton. Greg Van Avermaet finished in eighth place in the bunch sprint for the minor placings.

 

“It was nervous and after these hard climbs I don’t think many riders had many teammates left to really control the race. I think we were the only team left with four guys,” van Garderen said.

 

“I think tomorrow you’ll see more of a tempo rather than today which was so punchy. It was just a long day today with a lot of headwind but I think tomorrow we will see the real GC battle. I feel good, the team’s looking strong and we’re ready to tackle the next big days.”

 

When he was informed about the cancellation, he said:

 

“It’s definitely good that people are looking out for us and that we’re not forced to re-enact another Stelvio style day.

“But from a sporting point of view, I’m really disappointed. I’ve worked really hard and think that given the chance to show what I could have faired really on the climb, I‘d have faired really well. But safety first and health needs to come first. If there’s a metre of snow it’s just not possible.”

“Monday’s stages isn’t easy either. Now the climb is gone, people are going to race Monday a bit more aggressively. We definitely still have our work cut out but we definitely still want to win this Tirreno-Adriatico.”

 

Zdenek Stybar: We couldn’t ask the peloton to wait for Gaviria

As on the previous day, Etixx – Quick-Step was again at the front, protecting overall leader Zdenek Stybar, who was enjoying a 9-second cushion over his closest opponents. The peloton arrived in Foligno 25 seconds later, and Zdenek Stybar was there, finishing 10th and keeping his leader's jersey, which he'll display on Sunday for the third stage in a row. It was a good day also for two other Etixx – Quick-Step riders, Bob Jungels – who's first in the white jersey rankings – and Gianluca Brambilla – as both moved up in the GC, with three stages to go.

 

For Stybar, who got the blue jersey after his spectacular victory in Pomarance, the toughest test of the race will await tomorrow, but he is confident that he can put in another strong ride: "It's been a long and rough stage in the saddle, with quite a lot of headwind, but the guys were fantastic and helped me all the time. I'm glad that I'll get to wear the blue jersey for one more day and even though a mountain top finish is in store, we will give our best there.

 

"My main focus today was to keep the jersey so it wasn’t the right moment to risk anything. When a small group went away, I was a bit nervous to lose the lead but it went well in the end. I knew that a lot of BMC riders were only at 9secs on GC. It was a bit of a gamble but I was also hoping for Tinkoff to keep the pace high for Peter Sagan.

 

”It was difficult to control the race today. Fabian Cancellara was pulling on the steep climb. He went at a good pace but we didn’t drop out so a pretty big group came together at the finishing line. We knew that Fernando Gaviria wasn’t too far behind but we couldn’t ask the rest of the peloton to slow down and wait for him. He’ll have another chance for a second stage win on Monday."

 

Bob Jungels defends white jersey in Tirreno-Adriatico

"Once again we had a fantastic team, as Yves Lampaert, Julien Vermote and Tony Martin controlled the whole stage. In the end it was up to us to prove we can climb with the best and this turned out well. We kept the jerseys and this gives us more confidence for tomorrow. My legs feel pretty good, but I'm realistic that on such a long ascent it will be difficult to stay with the pure climbers. I know it's going to be hard, but as I said a couple of days ago, I'm not willing to give up this jersey without a fight", said Bob Jungels of

 

Patrick Lefevere after Tirreno cancellation: This is an important step for cycling

Patrick Lefevere, Etixx – Quick-Step's CEO, welcomed the decision to apply the Extreme Weather Protocol for the queen-stage of the race: "This is an important step for cycling, because it's probably for the first time in the history of this sport that such a wise decision is taken before the start of a race, a decision which came as an agreement between all the stakeholders. I would also like to underline the courage of the race organizers who have agreed to cancel such an important stage and put the riders' safety first, ahead of any interest. Tirreno-Adriatico definitely sets an example for the future."


Aggressive Benedetti takes mountains jersey in Tirreno-Adriatico

Again Cesare Benedetti made it into the group of the day in the 4th stage of Tirreno-Adriatico, but this time it was hard work for him to get there. Two riders made the first move of the day and got clear from the peloton with a gap of about 1:30, when Benedetti tried to bridge the gap with one companion.

 

The two had to fight hard in strong winds to close the gap to the race leaders, but managed to catch up about 25 kilometres after the start. After the 4 leaders regrouped, they worked together well and built a lead up to almost 7 Minutes. It was the second big breakaway for Benedetti within 3 days.

 

When the leaders hit the first KOM of the day, the goal was clearly the King of the Mountains jersey. With the points already under his belt from his first breakaway two days ago, his position was perfect. He won the first KOM of the day. After that, the riders hit the steep Montefalco for the first time. With parts of a gradient up to 18%, this climb was the decisive part of today’s stage, and the peloton had to climb it twice. At the first passage the breakaway split and Valerio Conti was the new sole race leader. But Cesare Benedetti crossed the line for the KOM in second position, which brought him the overall lead in the KOM classification! In his two breakaways he has covered 388km at the front of Tirreno-Adriatico.

 

Paul Voss was the only Bora-Argon 18 rider in the group of favourites in this very hard final. With his 14th position in today’ss stage he proved his climbing abilities and also climbed up the GC to solid 32nd place.

 

“It was hard today to get into the group. I already had to spend a lot of energy when I bridged the gap to the two leaders. On the climbs I felt I am the fastest of the group, but not the strongest. So I had to hang on as good as possible and then take the points with sprints for the KOM. I won the first KOM, but on the second climb Conti dropped me. I kept my own rhythm and could take the points for the second place. It is really great to wear a leaders’ jersey at a WorldTour race! Now we have to see what we can do tomorrow,” Bendetti said.

 

"It was our goal to do something positive in today’s stage so I rode away for the second time this week, which enables me to take the green jersey. It pays off for all the efforts I produced, but it was a hard day of work with head wind all along. It’ll be difficult for me to win the King of the Mountains price but I’ll try to break away again – despite the pain I’ll certainly feel after my escape today".

 

“My legs were really good today,” Voss said. “I could follow the group of favourites on the last climb. After the top, a lot of riders tried to attack. I had to play a little poker, because I was the only guy from our team in this group. So I decided to wait for a sprint finish. Unfortunately, a few riders could go clear from the peloton and my plan did not work out. But I am very satisfied, because my shape is really good and I am confident now also for tomorrow.”

 

Valerio Conti agonizingly close to mountains jersey in Tirreno-Adriatico

The Lampre-Merida sports directors Maini and Marzano asked their riders to approach the 4th stage an attacking attitude and their request was fulfilled: Conti was the main protagonist of the most important breakaway of the stage and Ulissi attacked on the last climb.

 

After 15 km in the stage, the young climber from Rome started th breakaway which led the race for most of the day: the action had been encouraged by the whole blue-fuchsia-green team which had neutralized an early attack in which there were no Lampre-Merida riders.

 

Conti made a late solo move but was caught with 1 km to the summit of the Trevi climb.

 

On the Montefalco again, Ulissi made an attack, but the group reacted.

 

Ulissi is 30th on GC at 1'35". Conti is 2nd in the mountains classification (8 points, Benedetti is 1st with 11 points).

 

"My morale was high: I was riding on the roads of my region and I really want to make a good show,” Conti said. “Moreover the team's sports directors asked us to be in the breakaway, so I was really focused on an attacking attitude which allowed me to lead the race for many kilometers.

 

“It was really difficult to ride in front of the race with the head- and crosswind blowing strong. That helped the bunch. However, I had two goals: the green jersey and the finish in Foligno so I attacked on the Montefalco hill, which I know very well.

 

”Unfortunately, the bunch increased the speed and my action ended with 1 km to the KOM of Trevi. One kilometer more and I would have taken the lead.”

 

Simon Clarke: We made a bit of mistake in our calculations

"The finish was about surviving the cross-wind section and then getting over the last hill, which myself and Jack [Bauer] were able to do,” Cannondale’s Simon Clarke said. “After that, we made a bit of a mistake. It was headwind to the finish, and Jack and I assumed it was going to be a sprint. We made a bit of a mistake in our calculations. In doing so, we missed the final attack when the six guys went away. It was unfortunate."

 

Clarke and Bauer finished on 25" with a group of 38 riders.

 

Adam Yates avoid time loss despite late mechnanical

Esteban Chaves and Adam Yates finished in the front group on stage four of Tirreno-Adriatico behind winner Stephen Cummings (DI-Data) leaving Orica-GreenEDGE in a good position heading into the mountainous “Queen Stage” on Sunday.

 

After a long six-hour plus day for the team sports director Matthew White was pleased with the performance.

 

“It wasn’t really an aggressive day of racing, after the first move got caught the peloton were happy to let the second breakaway get going and stay out front. It was a long day in the office for the boy’s and there was a strong headwind for about 150 kilometres which meant most of the action was going to happen in the last part of the race.

 

White praised the persistence of the team after Yates suffered a mechanical close to the finish.

 

“Adam (Yates) had a puncture on the final circuit and Luke (Durbridge) gave him a wheel, he did really well to get back on and not lose a significant amount of time.

 

“I’m happy with our position going into the Queen Stage tomorrow, it’s going to be another difficult day with some hard climbs and hopefully we will be up there in the final.”

 

Impressive Fabian Cancellara: I was onlu working for Mollema

After nearly six hours on the saddle, the peloton was led into the final key climb of stage four in Tirreno-Adriatico by a train of Trek-Segafredo riders. Eventually, Fabian Cancellara grabbed the reins and powered the crosswind section ahead of the uphill, then continued his punishing pace for most of the climb with Bauke Mollema safely shielded on his wheel.

 

"I had a job to do today," explained Cancellara. "I think in the wind at the end, before the last passage of the climb, the whole team did a fantastic job to keep Bauke out of trouble.

 

"There were crosswinds, and we helped keep him protected at the front.  I just did my job to keep him out of trouble, and I just continued my speed [up the climb]. That's how it's a team job. After a few days where I didn't feel so good, I finally found back some good rhythm and for me that's good."

 

Cancellara's effort whittled the peloton to around 45 riders. In the15-kilometer run-in to the finish, the attacks came in rapid succession, and again Cancellara appeared at the front to shut down a few gaps.

 

"After the climb, I don’t like when after I pull so long to see rivals go on the attack," continued Cancellara. "So then I get excited as well, but it was the last of my power and energy in my body. In last 10kms, I again focused on Bauke to keep him up there and out of trouble. This was important for me and my only goal today – he deserves our 100 percent support, so I wanted just to be up there for him because he is a contender for the overall win."

 

The constant pressure stretched the elastic until Stephen Cummings (Dimension Data) sudden acceleration snapped it. Cummings opened a gap that no one could close, and he soloed to the win ahead of a five-man chase group, followed by the decimated peloton nine seconds later.

 

Mollema and Cancellara finished in the main bunch, maintaining Mollema's top place in the overall classification ahead of the queen stage with its long summit finish tomorrow.

 

"Our only concern is that we keep the chances for Bauke for the overall, and Fabian did a fantastic job to keep Bauke up front on the climb," said director Dirk Demol. "Jasper [Stuyven] was there too, but he had a puncture, or we could have him there as well and maybe then also go for the stage.

 

"I was giving instructions at the bottom of the climb to be in front with the crosswinds. Popo [Yaroslav Popovych] and Markel [Irizar] gave full gas and then Fabian took over; it was perfect.

 

"I am happy with the performance of everyone – I again saw a team today, and this is good. I really hope that Bauke can do well tomorrow, he has been riding strong and the team has been working well; it will be exciting."

 

Primoz Roglic stays in contention on long day in Tirreno-Adriatico

Primoz Roglic of Team LottoNL-Jumbo finished in the main group with the general classification riders. The longest stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico, 222 kilometres, was won by Stephen Cummings (Dimension Data). The Brit soloed over the line in Foligno.

 

Early in the stage, Maarten Tjallingii escaped with eight riders. But the peloton did not allow this breakaway a gap and closed it. A bit later, a four-man breakaway rode clear and the teams settled for a long chase towards the final.

 

"It was high-speed start and riders fought to be in the right escape," said Sports Director Addy Engels. "It was a long and difficult day. The riders had to fight constantly for their positions and that takes up energy. Our boys protected Primoz Roglic very well. Primoz had to defend his ranking and he succeeded.”

 

"Today was a very nervous day with high wind," said Primoz Roglic. "You were never really relaxed on the bike and always fighting for a good place. My team-mates protected me very well and I am very happy with the performance today. I was well-positioned at the foot of the last climb and could defend my ranking.”

 

This evening, due to snow and cold rain predicted, organiser RCS Sport cancelled the stage planned tomorrow for Monte San Vicino. The race will resume as normal on Monday, but Roglic will not have a chance to race for the overall

 

Vinokourov asks Tirreno organizers to include summit finish in Monday’s stage

“We appreciate the attention of the Tirreno – Adriatico organizers to ‘ensure the health and safety of the riders’. In reason of the fact that there is not an alternative race route for tomorrow stage, we ask, at least, to change the Monday stage finish to an uphill finish. This request is to give all the riders that are participating in the race a real chance to challenge for the final victory,” said Alexandr Vinokourov, Team Manager of the Astana Pro Team.

 

“I do this request directly to the race director, Mauro Vegni, because I think it is a reasonable request to not frustrate the efforts that all the champions did to prepare this race,” explained Vinokourov.

 

Vincenzo Nibali: I am saddened by the cancellation

“I am saddened by the cancellation of the stage to @TirrenAdriatico . I aimed at the trio, will be for another time .... #NeverGiveUp,” Nibali tweeted after the stage.

 

Bad luck continues to haunt Rodriguez at Tirreno-Adriatito

Team KATUSHA came in to Saturday’s stage 4 with a plan in mind and things looked good, but bad luck once again kept the riders from seeing the results they were hoping for.

 

“With 10km to go after the last climb, the group was split into several groups.  In the front we had Sergei Chernetckii and Tiago Machado. There was a mechanical on the downhill which required stopping and changing the bike. But with all the groups on the road, the team car was quite far behind, more than 40 seconds, so it was too late by the time the bike was switched out. We had hoped with two guys in front to be able to try something but once again we see some bad luck on the stage here in Tirreno. Also on top of second to last climb both Joaquim Rodríguez and Sergei Chernetckii crashed – it was nothing serious and they are both fine but they had to make an effort to come back. But the guys remain motivated despite these episodes of bad luck,” said team director José Azevedo.

 

Another difficult day for Giant-Alpecin in Tirreno-Adriatico

Team Giant-Alpecin were happy to sit back in the wheels and conserve as much energy for the last part of the stages. Søren Kragh Andersen was the first to finish for the team in 52nd place, 2’05 behind the winner.

Coach Marc Reef said:

 

“It was a long stage today with a hard final and there was a lot of headwinds all day. The aim of the stage was to try to be in the breakaway with Stammie [Stamsnijder], Carter [Jones] or Søren. In the end, it was a four-man breakaway without us and controlled by the peloton.

 

“Ramon [Sinkeldam] and Albert [Timmer] put the others in position on the penultimate climb. Stammie, Nikias [Arndt], Zico [Waeytens] and Soren stayed in the 1st group but in the descent towards the last climb Zico crashed but he managed to get back on his bike.

 

“Zico and Nikias tried to follow on the last climb but the pace of the peloton was extremely high. Soren was in the second group and Nikias in the third group to cross the line. The team didn’t manage any result today.”

 

Bongiorno: My companions were too focused on the mountains jersey

"The others were focused on the mountains jersey while my goal was to bring home the result," Manuel Bongiorno told Spaziociclismo. "Conti attackeda bit 'too early and I preferred to set my pace. The leg respond well and I'm happy. We also showed that we always try. However, there are so many great champions here so it is also difficult."

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