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Saturday, March 11, 2023

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Tirreno-Adriatico stage five reports

We posted the report from new GC leader Primoz Roglic's Team Jumbo-Visma with the results.

Here's the Tirreno-Adriatico report from second-place Giulio Ciccone's Team Trek-Segafredo

There was very, very little separating Giulio Ciccone and victory in the queen stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico. At the finish line in Sassotetto, the Italian of Trek-Segafredo conceded only to Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) at the end of a tight sprint with Geoghegan Hart (Ineos), the third.

Ciccone finishes second to Roglic. Sirotti photo

Ciccone’s first thought is the one that, best of all, sums up his day. Giulio did not lack the courage and the clarity to manage a very tactical finish at his best, which came at the end of a tough day characterized by very strong winds, especially on the final climb.

A battle was expected today, but the headwind prevented the race from exploding. Despite this, Ciccone’s action with just over a kilometer to go lit the fuse between the GC favorites. Among all the big names present at Tirreno-Adriatico, only Roglic managed to better Giulio.

In the general classification, Ciccone sits 9th at 24″ from the Slovenian of Jumbo-Visma, the new leader of the race.

Cicco's reaction:
"With a cool mind, and especially looking to who beat me, I accept the result with more serenity: finishing second behind Roglic is a sweet defeat.

"I feel really good, the condition is there and I think I proved it. I really thank my teammates because they did an amazing job all the day. Everything went as I wanted. In short, we just narrowly missed the full result, but I think we can be satisfied.

"The weather today made the day really tough and affected the stage in a consistent way from start to finish. We took the last climb with a select but still dense group, and until the last kilometer there was no way to make a real difference: headwind was too strong and the climb not so steep to make further selection. There was a lot of control, everyone were hesitating to attack because the risk of making a wasteful effort was strong.

"Caruso’s action was brave and, without a somewhat decisive reaction, could have been successful. My attack before the last kilometer served to break the balance; it served as a push for Mas’s attack that caught Caruso. Looking back, I could have supported and followed up further to avoid that moment of control that allowed others to come back. Also, because of the wind, the signs marking the meters to the finish line were missing and I had no reference until the last corner. In short, a hint of regret for the finale still stays.

"Tomorrow, in my opinion, will be the toughest stage of this Tirreno-Adriatico. The general classification is very tight, surely something will happen: we will also be in the game."

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Third-place Tao Geoghegan Hart’s Team INEOS Grenadiers posted this:

Tao Geoghegan Hart sprinted to third in a thrilling finale to stage five of Tirreno-Adriatico to move up to sixth overall.

The British rider remained well-placed on the ascent of the Sassotetto climb, sheltering from changing wind conditions before attacking the GC group in the closing metres.

Geoghegan Hart (far left) was awfully close. RCS photo

In the final, he stole a march on the majority of his rivals, with Giulio Ciccone (Trek Segafredo) and Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma) the only two able to respond, with the latter edging the win to take the overall lead.

Earlier, the INEOS Grenadiers had combined well to ensure safe passage through strong and changing wind conditions.

Michal Kwiatkowski and Filippo Ganna paced the bunch as the peloton raced through windswept valleys and helped deliver Geoghegan Hart in a good position to the final climb.

The Londonder then bided his time, stayed in the wheels, before launching a well-timed attack only to be edged out on the line by Roglic and CIccone. He is now sixth overall and moves closer to the podium. 

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Here's the report from former GC leader Lennard Kämna's Team Bora-hansgrohe:

The mountain top finish at Fonte Lardina was considered as the queen stage of this year’s edition of Tirreno-Adriatico. Even it had to be shortened by 2.5km due to strong wind, the 10km climb was decisive in terms of GC. BORA – hansgrohe controlled the race most of the day for their overall leader Lennard Kämna. On the final climb strong headwind influenced the race and an attack from Damiano Caruso opened the finale.

It was Jai Hindley who was able to neutralize this move and all other attacks to bring a small group on the last 500m. In the end Primoz Roglic took his second stage win and the overall lead due to bonus seconds. Lennard Kämna crossed the line in 5th, just behind Jai and in front of Aleks Vlasov. Lennard is now second in GC only four seconds behind Roglic with also Hindley and Vlasov still sitting inside the top ten.

Lennard Kämna will be in his regular team colors when he starts stage six. Sirotti photo

“I am a little disappointed to lose the jersey already. But it was not about today, but more about the small mistake yesterday. I think we rode a very strong race as a team today and I am also happy with my personal performance. The wind influenced the race of course. Before the climb it was super hectic and then it became quite tactical. Attacks only made sense in the tail wind sections and everybody waited until the end. But the last two kilometers have been really tough.” – Lennard Kämna

Team Soudal Quick-Step posted this Tirreno-Adriatico report:

Twice before a finish at Tirreno-Adriatico, having hosted two stages also at the Giro d’Italia more than three decades ago, the Valico di Santa Maria Maddalena climb awaited the riders at the end of the race’s queen stage. This time, the ascent was 2.5 kilometers shorter, and that’s because the organisers had to redesign the finish due to safety concerns caused by the strong winds at the top, exceeding 70km/h in some parts.

On a day with more than 3000 vertical meters, Davide Ballerini joined the breakaway, putting in a solid effort in the six-man move that managed to remain at the front until the last 30 kilometers. Going into the last climb, Soudal Quick-Step had two riders in the main group – Julian Alaphilippe and Andrea Bagioli – who remained there until with four kilometers to go, when an injection of pace at the front of the bunch caused significant cracks.

Julian Alaphilppe picks up his bike before the stage start. Sirotti photo

Due to the headwind, the stage came down to a reduced sprint, won by Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma), while Julian – who was our team’s first rider home – will now look to the hilly penultimate stage, set to include around two dozen steep climbs, culminating with the uphill finish in Osimo, the small town in the province of Ancona which for centuries was part of the Papal States.

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And here's the report from Thibaut Pinot's Team Groupama-FDJ:

The Tirreno-Adriatico’s summit finish eventually did not create many differences. In what was a strange final climb due to the strong wind on Friday, on stage 5, Thibaut Pinot couldn’t really do anything else than follow the best up to the top of Sassotetto. The French climber focused on doing that and managed to stay in the wheel until the line, taking twelfth place within a group of seventeen riders. On the eve of the “muri” stage, he also climbed two places in the general classification (12th).

The peloton with 55 kilometers to go. RCS photo

While the wind led to the cancellation of Paris-Nice’s stage 6 on Friday, it also proved to be a major factor in stage 5 of Tirreno-Adriatico. However, the race and the much-anticipated summit finish in Sassotetto did get maintained. The second fight between the GC riders was expected, but before that, Anthony Perez (Cofidis), Erik Fetter (Eolo-Kometa), Davide Ballerini (Soudal-QuickStep), Simon Guglielmi (Arkéa-Samsic), Florian Stork (Team DSM), Zdenek Stybar (Team Jayco AlUla) and Quinn Simmons (Trek-Segafredo) established the day’s breakaway. The American rider finally sat up early and let his break companions get a three-minute lead ahead of the bunch, while the race’s conditions became risky at times.

“There was a strong wind today, which made the race hard”, explained Thierry Bricaud. “In the end, we also had bad weather. The conditions were not easy, but it was expected. Apart from the fact that it made it a bit dangerous for the riders, the wind mostly blocked the race because it mainly was a ¾ front wind. It certainly made the race nervous, but it did not break it apart”. A few riders did struggle with the gusts throughout the day, but no major accident occurred, while the last men from breakaway got caught with thirty kilometres to go.

In a series of small hills, the peloton gradually narrowed and was reduced by a half as it approached the final climb of Sassotetto (10.8 km at 7.3%), also shortened by 1500 meters due to the wind. “Today, it was everything for Thibaut,” said Thierry. “We wanted him to approach the final climb as well as possible, without making too much effort beforehand, and to be well positioned to do a nice climb. His teammates did well in that regard.”

Jake Stewart, Bruno Armirail and Quentin Pacher notably helped positioning the Frenchman before the final battle. “It was a nerve-wracking day,” he explained. “I felt pretty good, but I’m not the most comfortable in these conditions, and so I still spent a lot of energy before the bottom of the last climb”. The last climb was mostly done with a strong headwind. “It blocked the race a bit and prevented a big fight,” said Thierry. Damiano Caruso tried to attack with four kilometres to go, but the favourites’ group mainly reduced from the back before an explosive fight in the last kilometre and a half. In these circumstances, Thibaut Pinot made sure to hold the wheels to finish the stage in twelfth position, in the same time as the winner Primoz Roglic. “I am satisfied to be with the best, but I would have liked to race a real mountain stage for pure climbers”, he regretted.

On Friday he moved up to twelfth place overall, forty-one seconds behind the new leader Roglic, and around twenty seconds from the top 5. “We would have liked to enter the top-10 tonight, but circumstances mean that he remains just outside of it”, added Thierry. “Tomorrow is a very hilly stage, and everything is still possible. There are still twenty riders who can aim to make a very good GC, which will force some teams to make a hard race. Thibaut will try to gain positions overall, then depending on the race circumstances, we could also go for the stage win. Valentin is doing well, Quentin is getting better and better, there is plenty to do”.

On the “walls” circuit in Osimo, where the short climbs will follow one another, the Groupama-FDJ leader will be able to leave it all on the road as the sprinters should be back in San Benedetto del Tronto on Sunday. “It is surely the hardest stage of the week”, concluded Thibaut. “I hope to be in good shape and that we can go up in the general classification, because we are still outside the top-10 and that is not what we came for. Since the team is going strong, it will be possible to make a lively race. We’ll need to do everything to have no regrets”.



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