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“I'm delighted to lead the race now, I'll try to win the overall but I can't promise I'll do it because there's an uphill finish on Sunday that might be too hard for me."

Photo: RCS Sport

AG2R LA MONDIALE

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ALBERTO LOSADA

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ALEJANDRO VALVERDE

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ANDRONI GIOCATTOLI

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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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DAVIDE FORMOLO

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DIMENSION DATA

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DOMENICO POZZOVIVO

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DOMINIK NERZ

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EF EDUCATION FIRST-DRAPAC

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EDVALD BOASSON HAGEN

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ENRICO BATTAGLIN

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ESTEBAN CHAVES

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GREG VAN AVERMAET

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GROUPAMA-FDJ

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JEAN-CHRISTOPHE PÉRAUD

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JOAQUIM RODRIGUEZ OLIVER

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JURGEN VAN DEN BROECK

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KATUSHA ALPECIN

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MICHAL KWIATKOWSKI

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MICHELE SCARPONI

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MIRKO SELVAGGI

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MITCHELTON-SCOTT

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MOVISTAR TEAM

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PATRICK KONRAD

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PETER SAGAN

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PRIMOZ ROGLIC

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QUICK-STEP FLOORS

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SIMON CLARKE

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TEAM LOTTONL-JUMBO

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TEAM SUNWEB

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THIBAUT PINOT

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TIRRENO - ADRIATICO

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TREK - SEGAFREDO

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UAE TEAM EMIRATES

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VINCENZO NIBALI

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ZDENEK STYBAR

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10.03.2016 @ 22:59 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Zdenek Stybar (Etixx-QuickStep) made up for the disappointment of failing to defend his Strade Bianche title as he claimed an impressive solo win in the difficult second stage of Tirreno-Adriatico. Timing his attack over the top of the final climb with 3km to go perfectly, he got an immediate gap and held off a reduced peloton by one second to take both the stage win and the leader’s jersey. Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) easily beat Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) in the sprint for second.

 

We have gathered several reactions.

 

Zdenek Stybar: Sunday’s stage will probably be too hard for me

Designed by two-time world champion Paolo Bettini – who lives nearby – the finale was all that mattered, as it was one for the puncheurs, on a 6.4-km long climb averaging 4.2%, but pitching up to 18% in some parts. Coming at the end of a day during which the peloton had in the menu 2000 meters of vertical climbing, and having some technical sections, with narrow and twisting roads, irregular gradients and a tricky descent not far off the finish, which was in a slight uphill, the Cerreto ascent was the real deal of the stage.

 

Zdenek Stybar was one man aware of this, and as consequence attacked with 2.5 kilometers to go, taking a handful of seconds, despite a big chase behind him, led by Cannondale and Tinkoff. That attack turned out to be a brilliant one from the three-time World Cyclo-Cross Champion, who displayed his fantastic skills and proved once again that he's one of the best bike handlers in the peloton, taking the bends at crazy speed and never looking back, as the finish was getting closer and closer. In the final 200 meters, he knew the win was in the bag, and raised his arms in celebration for his – and the team's – first World Tour success of the season.

 

Second in last Saturday's Strade Bianche, Zdenek Stybar remembered the old Klingon proverb which says that "Revenge is a dish best served cold", and patiently waited for the ideal moment to attack on Cerreto, on a finish that already was in his agenda for two weeks now. The Pomarance victory, which came ahead of world champion Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data), means that the Czech rider is now the new leader of the overall standings.

 

"The steepest part was tough, and we knew the big move had to come there. We talked with our sport director Davide Bramati more than two weeks ago about this finish, which was very technical,” he said. “I was focused, I knew the plan and went for it, because this was my chance.”

 

"It's a very nice moment and it makes me happy, especially after missing out on the team time trial win and the Strade Bianche one in the past days. I am content with my shape, as I worked hard to get here. Tirreno-Adriatico marks the beginning of an important block of races in which I hope to be protagonist", said Stybar after the stage.

 

"I knew about the finale since I recce'd it with our sport director Davide Bramati. I knew it suited me perfectly. I also knew that I had good form since I did well at the Strade Bianche [2nd]. I attacked at the right moment when it was very steep just inside 3km to go.

 

“I'm delighted to lead the race now, I'll try to win the overall but I can't promise I'll do it because there's an uphill finish on Sunday that might be too hard for me.

 

“It was a stage that our sport director Davide Bramati told me two weeks ago could be a good one for me. But before you are there, you never know how the race will develop. People compare my victory today with the one I got at the Tour de France last year but it’s a different one. I went from a bit far out this time – I’m really happy with the timing of my attack. I looked behind and saw that nobody was coming across.

 

“I’m glad we passed through the finishing town once before the end of the race: it gave me a chance to check the finish out and I had it in mind. I knew I could recover in the downhill and the curves, that’s what I did and then I went full gas with 200m to go.

 

“It’s very important to win ahead of the Spring classics. I’ve already done Milan-Sanremo three times but always in difficult weather conditions so I’m not sure how it can unfold this year. Anyway, it’s a 300km long race and it’s not only about being able to attack in the Poggio like I did today.

 

“Two or three weeks ago my directeur sportif Davide Bramati called and told this was a stage for me. The profile suited me and I’d seen a video but you never know how race will develop. It was about timing it right.

 

“We had two from our team and I knew that Gianluca Brambilla is very strong. When I went it was as a good moment to go. I was not too far behind on the climb and expected the bunch to ease a little over the top so then I made my attack. But it was very spontaneous. It wasn’t planned that I’d attack in that point.

 

“I looked behind when I went to know if someone was following me. When I saw nobody was coming, I knew it could work out. I knew there were a lot of turns and when we passed through the finish the lap before, so I knew what to expect. I knew I could recover in the turns and the little downhill in last 500 metres. Then I went full gas in the last 250 metres.”

 

The Czech, who holds 9 seconds over his closest rival in the GC, continued: "I would love to keep the blue jersey until the end, but I know this is going to be difficult. The Monte San Vicino stage is a tough one, but I will fight for it. Anyway, we also have Gianluca [Brambilla] for that day, and he's in very good condition. I don't want to think about it now, we will take it day by day and see how things pan out."

 

“I think its very important to win but most of all it’s important to be in good shape. You could see that Cancellara is in top shape, than Greg van Avermaet is on top shape and that Sagan is very, very good, Edvald Boasson Hagen, too. It’s very important to win in front of the Classics for your own confidence, too. I knew after Mallorca and Algarve that my form was growing in the right way.

 

“I trained very hard this winter and for the first time in my life that I was struggling between training and going into over training after Algarve. I was training so hard that I was on the limit. There were times when I couldn’t imagine to train for extra minute. Fortunately I’ve recovered from the hard effort of Strade Bianche and so I’ve got some freshness in my legs now. I knew that my shape would come up.”

 

Bob Jungels: I will try to do a good GC in Tirreno-Adriatico

At the end of the day, Stybar took to the hotel three jerseys – blue, red and green – while another Etixx – Quick-Step rider, Bob Jungels, got to don the white jersey, which rewards the best young rider in the race: "For the team it has been an excellent day, in which we showed that we can have somebody in the front all the time, regardless of the terrain. For my part, I want to get a good result in the general classification, but it will all come down to Sunday's stage.

 

"Today was a good day for the team after losing yesterday.  I want to try to make a good GC, but there is still one very hard stage. We'll see how I go in that stage, but with the final time trial I can get some time back. I will give it my all and do not give up easily.

 

"My goals in the future are GCs. I am motivated to try to see if they are realistic and I know that on the long climbs there are riders much stronger than me. But to make a good GC you have to be competitive in every stage and I will do my best to be as far forward as possible before the final time trial.”

 

Peter Sagan after another second place: It was a difficult finish
As Tirreno-Adriatico hit the roads, a thrilling finale saw Peter Sagan take a podium position in Pomarance. In a final 3km that more closely resembled a rollercoaster, Peter Sagan held on to the front, crossing the line a second after the stage winner.

 

A flat stage punctuated by a climb 60km from the finish, the first road stage of the 51st Tirreno Adriatico was a long day in the saddle for riders, taking in a total of 207km. A short climb 3km from the end of the stage made it one for the all-rounders rather than the sprinters, with the last few kilometres suiting the more technical riders.

 

In a stage that began with a breakaway of six riders that held for most of the race, teams concentrated on protecting their leaders for the final push for the line. As the last few kilometres approached, the attacks came thick and fast Tinkoff took their place at the front with Oscar Gatto joining the push to chase the final breakaway and support Tinkoff’s leader, Peter Sagan, to the finish.

 

“Peter showed he's a champ today but it didn't come offm” said Sport Director, Lars Michaelsen, after today’s stage. “Everything went to plan, to wait for the final. The guys were well-positioned and briefed well before the stage. Gatto pushed hard at the end, with the two steep climbs and then the technical section. The guys from us who had the power were there in the finale but we missed Boaro who had to change bike. Stybar surprised everybody with this super strong attack.”

 

Sagan was disappointed with his finish however. “It's a shame to come in second again. We did well yesterday and tried hard today. The team was working well and Oscar pushed hard in the last kilometres to close the gap but it was a difficult finish. I did my sprint well and the feeling is good so I can be happy with that.”

 

Lars Michaelsen was supportive of his team leader and was looking forward to the coming stages. “We really wanted this win for Oleg and for the team. Peter showed he had the legs and there will be more opportunities.”

 

Tomorrow’s stage presents more chances for the team. While dotted with some punchy climbs, stage 3 is a stage for the sprinters. A long downhill towards the end of the 176km stage will give sprinters and their teams the chance to catch any breakaways and contest the stage win.

 

Edvald Boasson Hagen: I should have made an attacl

Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka were looking to Norwegian champion, Edvald Boasson Hagen, to have a go for the stage win and so he was always well positioned up at the front of the race.

As the riders reached the final 10km of the stage, the break were caught but the peloton had shattered. A small group of around 35 riders started the final climb together, which would summit with 3km to go. Reinardt Janse van Rensburg set the pace on the climb and followed a few accelerations to keep the group together for Boasson Hagen.

A big attack by Movistar shed a few riders just as the lead group crested the climb but it was the counter attack by Stybar that would pay dividends. The Etixx rider only had a maximum lead of 10 seconds but it was all he needed to stay ahead of the select group.

After following the surge made by the Movistar rider, Boasson Hagen tried to recuperate as best he could for the sprint finish and managed to cross line just behind the World Champion, Sagan, to take the final podium position of the stage.

Edvald Boasson Hagen said:
 

“It was a fast stage but I was comfortable throughout the day. I started the last climb in a good position but I didn’t feel super good at the top so I didn’t try an attack but I should’ve attacked just after the climb. I tried to save as much as I could for the sprint and I did a good sprint at the finish but we weren’t close enough to catch Stybar. It was a pity in the end but there are still more stages to come.”

 

Sports director Roger Hammond added:
 

“The stage pretty much went exactly as we thought so we were happy with our preparation. It was just a matter of getting into the crucial parts of the race together and Edvald and Reinardt were there. We wanted Edvald to attack on the climb because that is how we thought he was going to win the stage. He put a big effort in on the climb but it was Stybar who went over the top of them that made it count. For Edvald to still come back and do such a good sprint after his effort was impressive.

 

”If you look at the podium, Stybar, Sagan and Edvald Boasson Hagen, we have to be proud of the result but with the results our guys have got this year, we have almost got so used to winning that we were almost disappointed with a 3rd place in a World Tour race. It’s a nice place to be in, feeling like that at this stage of season, but we are really striving for the victory.”

 

Davide Formolo: My plan was to attack over the top of the climb

Davide Formolo drove the chase on a reduced bunch in the final three kilometres. Zdneck Stybar (ESQ) was up the road at this point, and Formolo was determined to dig as deep as he could in attempt to bring back the lone leader.

 

"Today the plan was that I should try for myself at the top of the final climb," Formolo explained. "But I saw we had wind, so I thought it wasn't possible to arrive at the finish line alone. I waited, and that's when Stybar attacked. I saw Simon [Clarke] in my wheel, and for me, the best thing I could do was to pull for Simon to try to catch Stybar."

 

Stybar stayed away - just. And Clarke held his own against the sprinters. He finished third to Peter Sagan and Edvald Boasson Hagen for fourth on the stage.

 

Alejandro Valverde misses out on bonus seconds at Tirreno-Adriatico

The man who does it all was again the best of the GC contenders in Tirreno-Adriatico today in the stage after a difficult, opening team time trial for his Movistar Team (10th place). At Pomarance's finish, the Spanish road champion took 5th in a world-class elite group, anticipated by a well-timed attack from Zdenek Stybar (EQS). The Murcia-based rider was only beaten by two top sprinters - Sagan (TNK) and Boasson Hagen (DDD) - plus Australian Simon Clarke (CPT).

 

The telephone squad, which always kept Valverde under protection with work from Sutherland, Dowsett, Sütterlin, Oliveira and Amador, left him in company of Dani Moreno in the last 10km uphill and set Giovanni Visconti on the attack into one of the flat sections between the steepest slopes, 5km from the line. As the Italian was quickly caught, Diego Ulissi (LAM), in the last uphill section, and the successful Stybar did their best to avoid the fastmen taking their part today.

 

The 'Race of the Two Seas' will tackle two flatter finishes on Friday and Saturday, in Montalto di Castro and Foligno, prelude to Sunday's crucial mountain stage towards the Monte San Vicino.

 

Aggressive Vincenzo Nibali: I was eyeing the bonus seconds

“I saw that it was a finish that suited me so I decided to have a go,” Vincenzo Nibali told Cyclingnws. “I was thinking about the time bonuses but it was difficult to pull it off and get something, and Stybar proved to be too strong. It didn’t come off but was worth giving it a go.”

 

"It was not a decisive stage for the final victory,” commented Michele Scarponi. “But the finale was very tricky and you could lose important seconds.

"In the last kilometers we were very focused to stay as close as possible to Vincenzo. My condition is growing and I am ready to give my help next Sunday when we will arrive on the top of Monte San Vicino.”

 

"The boys have worked in a good way in a stage which had a finale full of curves and with a decent nervousness in the bunch. We did well to stay in the top positions of the group,” added sport director Alexandr Shefer .

 

Greg Van Avermaet: I was feeling good but we hesitated

After winning the opening TTT on Wednesday, BMC Racing Team went into stage 2 with Daniel Oss in the leader’s blue jersey and showed exceptional teamwork at the front of the peloton all day to control the race.

 

It was billed as a tough stage with a series of tricky climbs in the final 60km and it didn’t disappoint. After a 6 rider breakaway spent most of the day away, Zdenek Stybar (Etixx-Quick-Step) attacked with 3km to go and managed to hold off a small group, which included four BMC Racing Team riders, to take the win and race lead.

 

Greg Van Avermaet crossed the line in seventh place and retains his second place on the General Classification, with Tejay van Garderen rounding out the top three.

 

“It was a hard final but I think we rode pretty well. Stybar went at the right moment and then there was a moment of hesitation when nobody could react. Nibali attacked and then we just tried to close it for the sprint,” Van Avermaet said.

 

“I was up there and I was feeling really good on the climb which was important so I feel good for the next days.”

 

“I wouldn’t say it was a hard stage, but it was tricky. For us, we had two goals this morning. One was to have Greg up there for the sprint but the overall plan for BMC was not to lose any time with Tejay, and I think everything worked out pretty well. We lost the jersey, but you look to the final result in a stage race like this, ” BMC Racing Team Sports Director Max Sciandri said.

 

Daniel Oss hands the leader’s jersey over to Stybar, but remains in fifth place overall.

 

Wout Poels: I hope I can fight for the jersey at Tirreno-Adriatico

Michał Kwiatkowski battled to ninth place on the second stage of Tirreno-Adriatico, crossing the line in a reduced peloton with Wout Poels and Peter Kennaugh after Zdenek Stybar had escaped to a fine victory in Pomarance.

 

The Team Sky trio were guided into contention as Thursday's stage reached a lumpy conclusion, with Vasil Kiryienka, Elia Viviani and Michał Golas working hard to bring a breakaway back before Salvatore Puccio and Lars Petter Nordhaug set a brisk pace on the day's final climb.

 

Kennaugh then chased down a number of late attacks on that punchy ascent before Stybar made his move in the last 2.8km. The Etixx - Quick-Step rider jumped clear just metres from the summit and then evaded his pursuers on a twisting run to the finish.

 

Kwiatkowski and Poels rode hard to limit their losses, and crossed the line just one second behind Stybar, with Kennaugh also present in the chase group.

 

That result saw Stybar take control of the blue leader's jersey, and bonus seconds accrued saw him open up a nine-second lead over Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) at the top of the overall standings.

 

Poels was happy with how events had played out when TeamSky.com spoke to him back at the team hotel, and he's feeling good with the main mountains stages still to come.

"It was a good day. The team were really strong in the final on that small, twisty road, and we achieved our main goal of me and Kwiato not losing any time on GC.

 

"We were on the front when he hit that last climb and dropped some riders on the steepest sections. I was feeling good, and hopefully that will set me up well for the rest of the week. I've come here on the back of a good block of training and I hope I can fight for the jersey.

 

"I'll have to wait a little longer to do that, tomorrow looks like it should be a sprint stage so we'll be riding for Elia who we know can be there at the end."


Federico Zurlo to wear mountains jersey after aggressive ride in Tirreno-Adriatico

Federico Zurlo did not wait too long before attacking from the bunch: one meter after the official start, he was already in a breakaway with 5 riders. He was brought back with 9km to go.

3km from the finish, his teammate Diego Ulissi attacked, but he was soon joined by the other top riders and, in that moment, Stybar counter-attacked. Ulissi reached the finish in 12th position.

Zurlo, who will wear the green jersey in the 3rd stage (he's second in the classification, but Stybar will wear the blue jersey of the general classification), said:

 

"I'm happy I could achieve the target of joining the main breakaway of the stage, which was important for the team because it allowed my mates to dedicate their attention completely to the support of Ulissi. 
 

”I knew that the moments just after the start could be good, that's why I immediately seized the moment. 
 

”The cooperation between the breakaway members was good, however, after they allowed us to gain a good advantage in the early kilometers, the bunch did not grant us extra freedom and the chase became even more intense in the second part of the stage. I will try to escape again whenever the sports directors will ask me to do it".

 

Yates and Chaves had expected harder finale in Tirreno-Adriatico

Adam Yates and Esteban Chaves of ORICA-GreenEDGE finished in thirteenth and twentieth positions respectively as Zdenek Stybar (Etixx-Quickstep) took the win with a solo attack in the final kilometres which means that the Czech rider also moves into the race leaders blue jersey for stage three.

 

Sports director Matthew White was satisfied with how the stage unfolded.

 

“It was a long day in the office for the guys today and we did what we needed to do for the main part of the race.

 

“The final climb was hard but wasn’t as difficult as we had expected, there was a selection of maybe 40 riders, with our two climbers Yates and Chaves making it into the front group and finishing well.

 

“Tomorrow is a shorter stage with a finish that looks to favour the sprinters, hopefully giving Caleb (Ewan) an opportunity to show what he can do.”

 

Bauke Mollema: For the first time this year I didn’t feel good

The first road stage in Tirreno-Adriatico featured a punchy uphill finale to a long 207 kilometers. Bauke Mollema was the highest finisher for Trek, arriving with the decimated front group in 15th place.

 

Bauke Mollema: "I was afraid that I had a small gap at the finish, and they would give me a few seconds from the group I was in. In the last corner someone passed me inside, and I had to brake a little bit. 

 

"But I didn't have great feelings today; it was the first time this year. I missed a little bit the power on the short, steep climbs and it was hard to stay there. It was a hard day – 207 kilometers the first stage with a tricky finish -  and I was happy to finish in the front.

 

"We knew the last climb was hard. Adriano Baffi (director) had done a recon a made a video, so I knew what to expect. As you can see, it was a small group in the end, the climbers and the punchers. It was a hard first day."

 

Crash takes Rodriguez out of Tirreno-Adriatico contention, Van den Broeck abandons

With a tricky final few kilometers and testing terrain, stage 2 in the 51st Tirreno - Adriatico looked promising for Team KATUSHA. But a late-race crash in the peloton sent team rider Alberto Losada to the ground on his face, and held up climbers Joaquim Rodriguez and Angel Vicioso, making a chance to win at the finish in Pomarance only a fading dream.

 

”We started the stage with some expectations to have a good result because it was a hard stage in the last 10 km. We had bad luck with a crash in the peloton at 7 km to go. Alberto was involved and hit the ground with his face. Joaquim and Angel also had to stop on that crash - they weren’t involved in the crash but the road was narrow and they were held up. They tried to come back but the group split in two and it was impossible. Around 40-50 were in the front and only Sergei Chernetckii was still there. It wasn’t a good day for us,” explained team directorJosé Azevedo.

 

After the stage Alberto Losada was brought to hospital for medical check. No fractures were revealed but some contusions and two stitches in the face will make it a difficult night for Losada.

 

Team KATUSHA rider Jugen Van den Broeck was unable to start due to illness.

 

Mirko Selvaggi launches strong attack in Tirreno-Adriatico

Mirko Selvaggi (Androni) attacked near the top of the final climb

 

"I wanted to try as we rode close to home,” he told Spaziociclismo. “I could not remember the final well. I thought that the toughest section of the climb was already over when I went. I was fine but then I saw the hardest part and I missed the legs in the final stretch.

 

“The feelings that I had today are very good for the next few days.”

 

Manger Gianni Savio added: "In the first escape of the Tirreno we could obviously not miss an Androni rider.”

 

Domenico Pozzovivo loses time in Tirreno-Adriatico

Ag2r only had one of their leaders in the first group. Jean-Christophe Peraud was there but Domenico Pozzovio lost time.

 

"The finish of this first road stage was rather favorable for puncheurs,” says Didier Jannel, sport director of the French team. “On a winding road, Domenico Pozzovivo was misplaced and he was trapped.”

 

"Jan Bakelants arrived in the group with the best, Jean-Christophe Péraud also. He did well to follow on a course that did not suit him but he is present. Now we have two days where we have to avoid the traps before the 5th stage on Sunday with the mountaintop finish at Monte San Vicino.”

 

Former ski jumper stays in contention in Tirreno-Adriatico

Primoz Roglic finished 29th in the second stage of Tirreno-Adriatico today in Pomarance, Italy. Team LottoNL-Jumbo’s Slovenian rider had help from his team-mates to position himself for the steep final climb and was able to stay with the best riders afterwards. Zdenek Stybar (Etixx-Quick Step) escaped and won the stage.

 

The stage was a quiet one for a long time. BMC Racing controlled the breakaway, which gave the other teams the chance to focus on the final 15 kilometres.

 

“That was where we wanted to be in front with Primoz Roglic and Enrico Battaglin,” Sports Director Jan Boven said after the race. “Enrico had to change bikes just before that moment and wasn’t back in front in time. Primoz was supported by Timo Roosen and Tom Leezer perfectly. They brought him to the foot of the climb and Timo was able to cover him for a moment, as well.”

 

Roglic thanked his teammates after the race because positioning in the big races isn’t easy for him yet.

 

“I had to be in front in time and the guys helped me very well,” he said. “I really needed them while taking position. On the climb, everything went well afterwards. I was able to follow the front men easily. I just kept on following. I should have been thinking more about winning at that point. That’s something to improve on. I’m thinking about the general classification as well, so saving energy is also important.”

 

Team LottoNL-Jumbo’s overall leader doesn’t have to help in the sprint lead-out for Moreno Hofland on Friday.

 

“We are going for a sprint with Moreno,” Boven added. “Everyone will do an effort for that except Primoz. It’s a nice challenge to rev up our sprint lead-out another time. To prepare a bunch kick requires a perfect combination of the things we did with the team in yesterday’s and today’s stage.”

 

Thibaut Pinot not on a great day in Tirreno-Adriatico

The day after the excellent team time trial, Thibaut Pinot and Sébastien Reichenbach made it into the front group for FDJ.

 

After crossing the line in thirtieth position, Pinot said that he was not on a great day. Of course his teammates did all the work to keep him in good position throughout a long day when the wind was a threat and even though his feelings were not very good, he moved up to eighth place overall. 

 

"Yes,” confirms sports director Martial Gayant. “The team really did well and everyone did his part of the job. The final was tortuous  and made the selection. Thibaut and Sebastien did the job in a stage that could be dangerous. Our leader said he was not very good but even though he was too far back in the pack, he soon moved to the front despite the wind. This demonstrates that he was not so bad…”

 

Lluis Mas animates first Tirreno-Adriatico road stage

Caja Rural - Seguros RGA helped animate the first regular road stage of this year’s Tirreno-Adriatico as Lluis Mas joined the early breakaway with five other riders. This is the team’s first ever participation in the Italian World Tour race and the strong Spaniard made sure the green colors were well represented at the front all day.
 
After almost 200 km in the break, Mas and the rest of the escapees were caught with just 9 km left to go. Mas managed to stay in the group of favorites until Zdenek Stybar (Etixx) attacked from the bunch on the final kilometers and soloed away to win the stage and take the leader’s jersey. José Gonçalves crossed the line 35 seconds down as best Caja Rural - Seguros RGA rider on the day.
 
Lluis Mas explains: “The break got away quite early and we quickly opened up a good gap. As the stage progressed, I started to feel better and better. I wanted to attack on the climb to avoid a sprint. It didn’t work out but I’m still very satisfied with the way my legs responded today. I’m looking forward to trying again later in the race”.
 
Bora-Argon 18 captains lose time in Tirreno-Adriatico

With a gap of 0:35, the second group crossed the line in Pomarance. Within that group Dominik Nerz (42nd), Patrick Konrad (43rd) and Paul Voss (49th) were the first BORA – ARGON 18 riders of the day.

 

“I had cramps in the end. I really did drink a lot, still I struggled with cramps. I really think I could have made it in the first group, but I could not push to the limit in the end because of that problem,” Patrick Konrad said.

 

“I think the main problem was that we all got stuck in the peloton before that last climb. We were not positioned well enough when we hit the last climb. It was almost impossible then to move up to the front because the pace was too high. I think we could have been all three in the first group today, but we made a mistake and therefore we had to pay the price. But my legs feel good, so I look forward to the next stages,” Dominik Nerz said.

 

Final climb too hard for Zico Waeytens in Tirreno-Adriatico

The day got off to a disappointing start for the Giant-Alpecin with Bert De Backer not starting today’s stage due to illness.

 

Team Giant-Alpecin riders decided to stay compact in the peloton and save their energy for the tough last parts of the stage.

 

The stage hinged on a tough uphill finish and the pressure at the front of the bunch served to split the bunch. Team Giant-Alpecin were working for Zico Waeytens with Albert Timmer doing a good work to put them at the front of the race.

 

Attacks came and went with only 50 riders left in the peloton as the pace heated up in the up and down finale. But it was Zdenek Stybar who outwitted the rest to take the race victory.

 

Zico Waeytens was the first to finish in 64th place.

 

Coach Marc Reef said: “It was always going to be a tough finish today with the uphill finish. The plan was to work for Zico and put him in a good position before the final climb.

 

“With 15km to go, we wanted to be at the front of the peloton because we knew that would be an important phase of the race with the pace of the bunch increasing and with riders losing contact. Albert did a good job and the team was in a good position.

 

“At the end it was too hard and Zico got dropped with 3.5km and he was the first home for the team today with a group of about 40 riders.”

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