Van Avermaet Victorious And In The Lead At Tirreno13. March 2015 — Road Team
With a powerful uphill dash to the finish Friday, BMC Racing Team's Greg Van Avermaet won for the first time this season and took the overall lead at Tirreno-Adriatico. (©Tim De Waele/TDWsport)
Van Avermaet delivered the BMC Racing Team its third victory of the year on the strength of a well-orchestrated lead-out from his teammates in the final moments of the 203-km race. Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) was runner-up and Zdenek Stybar (Etixx-Quick Step) finished third.
"This is a special day for me," Van Avermaet said. "I looked at the road book when I knew I was coming to Tirreno-Adriatico, and I was confident about these two stages – Stages 3 and 4. Stage 4 will be a little bit harder, but I knew that today’s finish would really suit me. I looked at what happened last year when (my teammate) Philippe Gilbert was third. I knew it could be a good day for me, although there were some good guys to beat. I have come close a few times this year, so I am really happy that I could finish it off. The team worked really well for me, because on a stage like this it is really important to be well positioned. And, of course, I am really glad I could keep guys like Sagan off."
Van Avermaet leads Sagan by two seconds overall and becomes the second rider in BMC Racing Team history to win a stage and wear the blue leader's jersey at the "Race of the Two Seas." In 2011, now-retired teammate Cadel Evans took the lead on Stage 5, then won Stage 6 on his way to overall victory.
“It is important to me because I am leading the team here and you can only be a leader if you win races," Van Avermaet said. "I finished second or third a few times recently: in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Flanders last year, and in Qatar, Oman and Strade Bianche this year. I sprinted all the way to the line today – I didn’t raise my hands in case I didn’t win. If you celebrate and they come past you, it is even worse."
Danilo Wyss took some of the pressure off the BMC Racing Team before the finale by being part of the day's breakaway for the second straight stage. Already the leader in the king of the mountains competition, Wyss added to his advantage by taking maximum points over the day's two climbs.
"It is nice to keep the green jersey," Wyss said. "It was a tactic of the team to put a guy in the break so we did not have to work behind. We had Greg as a favorite for the stage, so it was good for the team to have someone in the break. I am really happy for him and of course for the team. It is good for the team to win a stage and take the lead. It is a perfect occasion for us."
BMC Racing Team Sport Director Fabio Baldato called it "the perfect day."
"I asked Danilo to try to go again in the breakaway and they let him go," Baldato said. "That was the first move and it really gave tranquility to the team to stay calm and really go all for Greg in the final. We also saw our leader for the general classification, Damiano Caruso, was there to help Greg. That was really great."
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