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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, March 16, 2021

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2020 Tour de France | 2020 Giro d'Italia

The audiobook version of The Story of the Tour de France, Volume 1 is available.

Punishment is the last and the least effective instrument in the hands of the legislator for the prevention of crime. - John Ruskin

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Tirreno-Adriatico stage six team reports:

We posted the organizer's report with the results.

Here's the report from second-place Brent Van Moer's Lotto-Soudal team:

What had been announced as a sprint stage finally turned out completely different. An early breakaway of six, including Lotto Soudal rider Brent Van Moer stayed ahead and battled for the stage victory in Lido di Fermo. Eventually, five escapees sprinted for the win. Only the Dane Mads Würtz Schmidt showed to be faster than Brent Van Moer; the 23-year-old Lotto Soudal rider finished second and came close to his first professional victory.

Mads Schmidt

Brent Van Moer can be seen on the far left. Sirotti photo

“We knew the breakaway had a chance to succeed today, especially with the technical local course at the end”, reacts Brent Van Moer. “The first thirty kilometres of the stage was full on racing as a lot of guys wanted to be in the break. Tosh Van der Sande, Frederik Frison and I tried to escape and I was happy to be part of the breakaway. The legs felt quite good after yesterday’s tough stage, a very positive sign.”

Six brave riders went up the road: Bakelants, Velasco, Würtz Schmidt, Oliveira, Liepiņš and Lotto Soudal rider Brent Van Moer. The six were never granted an enormous advantage, but the breakaway worked together really well. When the sextet still had over two minutes advantage at twenty kilometres from the finish, the bunch threw in the towel and it became clear the six escapees would battle for the stage.

Brent Van Moer: “The six of us decided to work together really well all day long. The peloton didn’t close in on us that quickly and in the final two laps, we went full gas and it became clear we would stay ahead. On the final slopes, we dropped Liepiņš, probably the fastest of the group. The headwind in the final kilometres discouraged each of us from attacking. For a while, I thought about giving it a go in the final kilometre, but I decided to wait for the sprint and in the end, I am happy I did. I would have liked to be on Würtz Schmidt’s wheel, but I still lack some experience and I let myself be pushed away a bit.”

“Had I been able to start the sprint in the Dane’s wheel, who knows what might have happened… But in the end, I am still happy with second place and it was a nice experience. Tomorrow, I want to give it my all again during the short time trial”, Van Moer concluded.

Here's the report from Wout van Aert's Jumbo-Visma team:

Team Jumbo-Visma has come through the penultimate stage of Tirreno-Adriatico without any problems. In a stage that was coloured by the breakaway, team leader Wout Van Aert finished 13th. Tuesday is the final time trial.

Wout van Aert

Wout van Aert about to start stage four, when he was the GC leader. Sirotti photo

Everything seemed to indicate that the stage would end in a bunch sprint, just like the opening stage. Six riders were in the lead all day and got a maximum lead of six minutes. With twenty kilometres to go, the remaining lead was still three minutes, so the peloton decided to give up. As a result, the front group was rewarded for its effort. Dane Mads Würtz Schmidt took the win.

Van Aert was not very disappointed with the way the stage went. "As a team we chose not to go full speed behind the leaders. After the tough stages in recent days an easy day was welcome. The speed was still there for the whole peloton, but we were able to save as much energy as possible for tomorrow's time trial. The breakaway consisted of strong guys. We never got really close to them. It doesn't happen often that the front group makes it to the finish in a relatively flat stage. It's nice to see that sometimes."

The Belgian time trial champion talked in a realistic way about tomorrow's final race against the clock. "I will have to go full speed in the last stage. I think I also have a chance for a good classification in that stage. Fillipo Ganna is a very strong rider in the peloton, who in recent months has won just about every time trial he has started. The stage victory will be difficult, but I will not settle in advance with not being able to win. I'm going to give it my all in any case.

Team Deceuninck-Quick Step posted this report:

Tirreno-Adriatico reached the Adriatic Coast, arriving in Lido di Fermo, a small town lying not far from Capodarco, the climb used in one of the most important races on the U23 scene. It was this short but hard climb that spiced up the stage, popping up several times on the course in the second part of the day, once the peloton entered the local circuit.

Racing on the coast

Deceuninck-Quick Step leading the pack along the coastal loop. Sirotti photo

Animated by six men, the 169km stage promised a bunch gallop, but as it turned out, the breakaway unexpectedly prevailed, making it one of the rare occasions that a day-long move manages to hold off the bunch in a World Tour event. Mads Wurtz Schmidt (Israel Cycling Academy) took the victory, while the main group came home a minute later. Davide Ballerini was again there for Deceuninck – Quick-Step and sprinted to eighth place for his seventh top 10 of the season.

João Almeida, our team’s highest-ranked rider in the general classification, finished safely tucked in the peloton and is now one step closer to concluding the prestigious Italian race inside the top 10 overall at his debut here.

Here's the report Bora-hansgrohe sent me:

Stage 6 of Tirreno-Adriatico was the penultimate stage and the last road stage of this year’s edition of the Race of the Two Seas. This meant that for the less able time trial riders, today would be their last chance for a stage win, as well as to take some time in the GC.

From the start, the parcours was undulating, with the climbs becoming shorter and less steep as the day went on, winding down the 169km route for a predicted sprint finish, after four laps of an 11.2km finishing circuit. The team’s tactics for the day were to try and get in the break, with the sprint less of a priority. The fast-paced start made it hard for a breakaway to split off from the peloton, with Patrick Konrad one of many riders trying to ride away. It wasn’t until almost 40km of the route had been covered that a group of six finally managed to put some time between themselves and the main bunch, quickly building a lead of just over six minutes.

As the kilometres counted down and the expectation was that the peloton would up the pace to make the catch, the gap instead held steady and it seemed there was little motivation in the main bunch to fight for the finish. With the break’s advantage sitting at two minutes with 10km to go, it seemed unlikely the bunch sprint would be happening. Nonetheless, Daniel Oss was heading the peloton with his BORA-hansgrohe teammates to ensure Matteo Fabbro arrived at the line safely to protect his GC standings, the Italian keeping hold of GC 5th, while Peter Sagan took the opportunity to stretch his legs in the sprint for the remaining places, taking 14th as the first of the team across the line.

From the Finish Line:
"It was a very nervous day but the team did an awesome job. I was kept safe and out of trouble all the time. They all gave their best and in the final kilometres we were well-positioned at the front of the bunch, so thanks everybody." - Matteo Fabbro

"It was our intention to have a rider in today's breakaway and we tried it in the first part of the stage but it wasn't possible. The rest of the teams made it extremely hard thinking maybe we would have contributed to controlling and bringing back the escapees. However, our main goal today was the break and if it came down to a bunch sprint, Peter would have tried but it wasn't our main objective. I think the control of the break wasn't the best, it was too much to let their advantage reach 6 minutes in such a stage. So, the bunch finished about 2 minutes behind the escapees and Peter gave it a go at sprinting for the remaining positions. Matteo was always protected, avoided any incident and saved as much energy as possible for tomorrow." – Jan Valach, Sports Director

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