Showdown on Terminillo Shakes Up GC on Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 411. March 2017, Terminillo, Campoforogna (ITA) — Road Team
Tirreno-Adriatico stage 4 was destined to come down to a showdown on Mount Terminillo and it didn’t disappoint with a final battle between the General Classification contenders playing out before Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team) took the stage win and moved into the overall lead.
It was a relatively quiet start to the day with six riders being given the freedom to establish a breakaway from KM 0 and extend a maximum advantage of 10’50”.
With the summit finish on the horizon, the peloton, led by BMC Racing Team, began to pick up the pace with 90km to go. But, with no-one threatening the overall lead, it would take until inside the final 13km of the day before the last breakaway rider was reeled in.
There was no pause in the action with the race already on the slopes of the final climb and three riders went clear off the front of the rapidly reducing bunch. Attacks soon followed behind them and eventually a small group of favorites, including Rohan Dennis, Tejay van Garderen and Damiano Caruso, chased down Simon Špilak (Team Katusha Alpecin).
Finally, an explosive attack from Quintana inside the final 3km saw Dennis and van Garderen distanced from the chase group as the Columbian bridged across to Špilak before riding solo to the line.
With Quintana sitting 21 seconds back on the General Classification at the start of the stage, the clock started as soon as he crossed the line. Dennis showed his trademark grit and determination as he pushed on to minimize the time gap, eventually crossing the line 1'17" seconds back.
Dennis now sits fifth on the General Classification, 1’06” behind Quintana, with two stages and the final 10km time trial to come.
Quotes from the Finish Line
“I had a fun day in blue. It was a little bit stressful as all of the pressure was on our shoulders to defend the jersey. Being serious about defending the leader’s jersey on the queen stage was something new for me as a rider, so it was a good experience and a good learning curve. Regarding the overall GC, I think it was far from a disaster. I would have to pull a huge ride out of the bag before the final TT to beat Quintana, but I think second or third is definitely within reach.”
Tejay van Garderen:
“I felt pretty good on the climb, and I was right up there with the leaders until 4km to go, but then with all the sharp acceleration, I paid the price. I don’t have very many races in my legs, and it is still early in the season. My form is good but I am just missing a bit of top end speed, but I think that will come with more race practice. This is all build-up to the Giro d’Italia. My training has gone really well, and I was hoping I could make up a few fewer race days with good training, but there are some things you just can’t practice unless you’re in the race.”
“It’s good that Rohan was able to put in a solid climb today. He rode smart and stayed within his limits and stuck to what he knew he could do. In the end, he was even pulling guys back. I think with a good TT he could potentially end up with a podium finish which is important for the team. Of course, I would have liked to have done better myself but the morale is good within the team, and there is still a long way to go this season.”
Sports Director, Max Sciandri:
“Today was the first real effort for the GC contenders this season, and we were good today, so I don’t think we can be too disappoint. Rohan is building up to his new role as looking for GC opportunities, and he limited the damage well on the final climb. Perhaps Tejay van Garderen expected a little more but it is still early in the season for him, and then we had Damiano Caruso in the mix as well. We can now reassess where we are now and look forward to two strong days before the TT, which I think presents a good opportunity for us. We don’t have any responsibility tomorrow, so it gives us the chance to so something different. The morale in the team is good, and the shape of everyone has been obvious already this week, so let's see what happens.”
Stage 4: Montalto di Castro > Terminillo, Campoforogna, 187km
Top 3: 1. Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team) 2. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) 3. Adam Yates (Orica-Scott)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 15. Rohan Dennis 20. Damiano Caruso 29. Tejay van Garderen
BMC Racing Team Top 3 on GC: 5. Rohan Dennis 12. Damiano Caruso 18. Tejay van Garderen
BMC Racing Team Flickr Gallery
See photos from the race.