Three stages done and four stages, including the queen stage of Tirreno-Adriatico, still to come. The start of the Italian stage race has had a bit of everything with an opening stage team time trial, a stage for the rouleurs and a bunch sprint. Read about all three here.
Tirreno-Adriatico opened with a team time trial in the seaside resort town of Lido di Camaiore. #GreenArgyle debuted the new Cannondale Super Slice during the 22.7-kilometer fast, flat out-and-back effort. Averaging 55.291 kilometers/hour, Cannondale-Drapac squad stopped the clock at 24:38. The time proved good for 16th place, 1:08 behind the race winning time posted by BMC.
Sport Director Fabrizio Guidi on the TTT: “We expected to be better. We analysed what we did, and I think we are on top of the situation.”
That #GreenArgyle you see peeking out from the reduced bunch is Simon Clarke sprinting in for tenth place on the Tirreno Adriatico stage two. The first road stage of the Italian tour ended with a nine-kilometer kicker to the line.
Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) slipped away solo to take the win. Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) popped out of the chase group to snag second. Clarke survived the tough finale 11 spots ahead of Rigoberto Urán, who, like Clarke, finished on nine seconds.
“It’s not that we did not try or did not follow the plan today. We did. Today the others were stronger,” said Guidi. “The good news is Alberto [Bettiol] is better and better, and Rigo is ready for the mountains.”
The third stage of Tirreno-Adriatico ended in a mass sprint won by world champion Peter Sagan (Bora Hansgrohe). Ryan Mullen was the top finisher for Cannondale-Drapac, coming across the line in 32nd place on bunch time.
“There were a couple of semi-dangerous places during the stage,” said sport director Tom Southam. “Basically we wanted the guys at the front and looking after Rigo during these places. The guys were all in the right place when the race was on and dangerous and that’s all we had to do today. Rigo came through pretty fresh, which is good.
“If the opportunity came about for them to do a bit of damage, they could do that, but the wind wasn’t going the right way, so it was kind of a moot point.”
Five hundred metres from the finish, as the peloton approached top speed, several riders went down in a crash.
“We were all up the front together and there was a huge crash on the right,” Mullen said. “We all got ourselves around it without any of us going down.”
Racing continues on Saturday with the queen stage, which features the category one Terminillo. The 16 kilometer climb has an average gradient of 7.6 percent and is likely to play a major role in determining the general classification.