A Solo Win and a Bunch Sprint11. March 2016, Salon-de-Provence (FRA) / Montalto di Castro (ITA) — Road Team
Paris-Nice Stage 5 and Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 3 followed almost identical race plans today, with an early breakaway leading both races for much of the stage.
A Successful Solo Move for Lutsenko
It was a tough day at Paris-Nice with an early ascent of Mont Ventoux and strong cross winds making for a stressful day of racing on Stage 5.
An eight rider breakaway formed after just two kilometers of racing and built a solid ten-minute advantage before they approached Mont Ventoux. The steep climb broke the group up and slowly a reduced peloton reeled them in, in the last 50km.
Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) attacked with 17km to go and held off the peloton to take a solo win.
Richie Porte crossed the line safely in the peloton and now sits in tenth on GC, 31 seconds back on race leader Michael Matthews (Orica GreenEDGE).
“It was another tough and stressful day in the saddle but the guys were there with me as much as possible. We’ve only got two stages to go and there’s been no real change on GC since day one, so it’s all going to come down to tomorrow’s finish on the Madone,” Porte said.
“It was a hard, long stage with a lot of wind at the start. Mont Ventoux is always a tough climb and then the finals stages were quite nervous with steep and narrow roads. The team really worked well, particularly in the technical points where you always need to be in front. We’ll see now for tomorrow,” BMC Racing Team Sports Director Fabio Baldato confirmed.
Stage 6 is set to be the GC decider with the 177km stage finishing on the Category 1 La Madone D’Utelle.
Bunch Sprint in Montalto di Castro
On paper Stage 3 of Tirreno-Adriatico looked like a day for the sprinters and that’s exactly how it played out.
A five rider breakaway went away after 10km, holding on until the peloton stormed home to catch them with two kilometers remaining. Fernando Gaviria (Etixx-Quick-Step) held off Caleb Ewan (Orica GreenEDGE) and Elia Viviani (Team Sky) to take the win.
“Tirreno-Adriatico is a nervous race and today was a nervous stage. On paper it looked pretty easy but we had a bit of wind and you could tell by the way the peloton was riding that everyone was a bit stressed,” BMC Racing Team Sports Director Max Sciandri explained.
“Again we had two goals for the stage. The first being the stage win with Greg but in the end it was decided that the sprint was too risky, and then of course always protecting Tejay van Garderen and keeping him safe.”
The peloton has their first real taste of climbing tomorrow on Stage 4, 222km from Montaldo Di Castro to Foligno with four category climbs.
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