Dennis Moves Up The GC After Top Ten Finish on Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 512. March 2017, Fermo (ITA) — Road Team
After 210km of racing on Tirreno-Adriatico stage 5, a select group of riders battled it out in a final sprint to the line with Rohan Dennis finishing ninth, behind stage winner Peter Sagan (Bora - Hansgrohe), and moving into third overall on the General Classification.
In a break to tradition this week, it took almost 35km of racing for an 11-rider breakaway to form on stage 5, which, in a sign of solidarity from the race organizers, took the riders through the areas hit by the two major earthquakes in 2016.
However, with a tricky day of racing ahead, including a series of short, steep climbs in the final 90km of the day, the peloton kept control of the time gap bringing the breakaway within their grasp as they reached the summit of Capo di Monte.
A rapid descent saw groups of riders spread out across the road and lots of reshuffling at the head of the race before the peloton came back together with 82km to go.
With order resumed, it wasn’t long before the race saw more movement off the front of the main bunch and four riders were able to extend an advantage that settled at around one minute.
But with the real battle still to come, the peloton hit the reset button once again as they entered Fermo for the first time of the day.
A reduced group of around 80 riders headed into the final 35km together as attack after attack, including an explosive move from Tejay van Garderen, animated the race and forced riders to drop off the back of the main group.
Eventually, Dennis had the strength to stay with a select group of riders before the final sprint on the steep kick up to the line saw him finish ninth on the stage behind Sagan.
With Dennis finishing on the wheel of Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team), he moved up into third place on the General Classification, 1’06” behind the Columbian with two stages remaining.
Quotes from the Finish Line
"If I'm honest, I expected to be there with the final group on the finish, but it was far from easy, especially the last climb. I definitely had to go as deep as I could at that point and just follow the guys in front and hope I could sprint at the finish."
"The whole stage was far from easy, and it was one of those days when you have to play mental games with yourself and tell yourself there are only two more climbs when there are actually three. Tactically as well it was really tricky with attacks and splits from 75km to go but, the whole team was awesome. They did everything they could to put me in the best position to defend my spot on the GC and in the end move up."
"Tomorrow should hopefully be a little easier and a more straightforward sprint day. I can't see myself gaining any time on Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) or Quintana, but I have to still be on my game and watch out for any splits. Then, it all comes down to the final TT, and while first place on the GC might be out of reach, I am always going to try and improve my result, that's for sure."
Greg Van Avermaet:
"It was hard stage today and I was definitely on my limit. In the end, it was perhaps just too hard a day in a stage race for me at this point in the season. But, even though it was difficult, I still thought it was a really good stage with a nice finish and I was happy with my form. Sometimes you have a day that suits you, and then sometimes you don't, that's cycling. Tomorrow is another day, and I am happy with my form here. It's been a really good week so far and a good build up for the Classics to come."
Stage 5: Rieti > Fermo, 210km
Top 3: 1. Peter Sagan (Bora - Hansgrohe) 2. Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) 3. Primož Roglič (Lotto-NL Jumbo)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 9. Rohan Dennis 18. Damiano Caruso 25. Greg Van Avermaet
Paris-Nice Wraps Up with Fast and Furious Stage 8
12 March, 2017, Nice (FRA)
Paris-Nice stage 8 came down to a battle on Cote de Peille, Col d’Eze and the run into the finish in Nice, with David De La Cruz (Quickstep-Floors) sprinting to the final stage win of the race.
Multiple attempts to form a breakaway in the opening 15km were unsuccessful until five riders went clear, who were then joined by 19 more riders, including Alessandro De Marchi, to form the day’s breakaway.
With 50km to go on the 115.5km stage, Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) attacked to join the breakaway and distanced himself from the race leader Sergio Henao (Team Sky) to take the virtual lead.
Richie Porte was part of the chase group behind that was being led by Henao’s Team Sky, and as the finish line drew closer, the gap decreased to below 30 seconds.
Contador attacked from the breakaway with David De La Cruz (Quickstep-Floors) to join Marc Soler (Movistar Team) and the trio forged on ahead.
Despite a final surge from Contador, De La Cruz and Soler caught him with 500m to go, and in the end, it was De La Cruz who had the legs for the win.
Porte crossed the line in the group behind after a strong chase closed the gap significantly, and finished in tenth place on the General Classification behind winner Henao.
Quotes from the Finish Line
“We always knew that today was going to be tough, but Trek-Segafredo really lit it up from the bottom of Cote de Peille. It was such a hard, hard day. Days like this where it is short and so fast are probably the hardest. I’m just happy to get through it. Obviously, the highlight was the win yesterday, but the low point was the stage on Monday to lose time like that. The team was absolutely incredible. I think each and every one of the guys really gave it their all on every stage. I’m really happy from that point of view. I have a little bit of time off now, and then I’ll recover to come back for Tour de Romandie.”
“It’s always hard when you come back from Australia to here. I think it’s just nice to win a mountaintop finish and that all of the guys in the team had faith in me the whole week. It’s a good sign for the year to come.”
Yvon Ledanois, Sports Director:
“We came here to win, and although that didn’t happen, we can take a lot of positives from this week. Obviously, it was disappointing for Richie to lose time on stage 2, but this is a big learning curve for the whole team. That aside, Richie showed great form on his stage 7 win and that he is one of the best climbers in the world. I’m proud of the way the team worked together, even when things didn’t go well. We can take a lot of experience out of this week, and I think we can be confident for the next part of the season as we work towards the main goal, the Tour de France in July.”
Stage 8: Nice > Nice (115.5km)
Top 3: 1. David de la Cruz (Quickstep-Floors), 2. Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo), 3. Marc Soler (Movistar Team)
BMC Racing Team top 3: 18. Richie Porte 25. Alessandro De Marchi 40. Danilo Wyss