Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 2: Van Avermaet Moves into the Leader's Jersey9. March 2017, Pomarance (ITA) — Road Team
The Tirreno-Adriatico leader's jersey swapped from one BMC Racing Team rider to another on stage 2 after Greg Van Avermaet took fourth place following a tough battle on the day's final climb.
The peloton was happy for six riders to go clear as soon as racing started and the group's lead hovered around five minutes for the first 100km of racing. But, the toughest was yet to come with three categorized climbs packed into the second half of the stage.
After 123km of racing, the climbing began with the breakaway hitting the ascent to Serrazzano, 4'45" ahead of the main bunch being led by BMC Racing Team.
With less than 60km to go, the chase began to heat up, and the gap quickly fell to inside 2'30" as Jempy Drucker, Manuel Quinziato and Daniel Oss pushed on at the front of the peloton.
The breakaway was eventually caught on the early slopes of the final categorized climb to Montecatini Val di Cecina, but as expected it was the ascent into Pomarance that proved decisive for today's stage win.
Fireworks started as soon as the race hit the final climb with riders flying off the front of the main bunch in quick succession, but it was the attack by Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) that stuck heading under the 5km go marker.
Caruso was able to make the jump across to him alongside Bob Jungels (Quick-Step Floors Cycling Team) and Jonathan Castroviejo (Movistar). However, the second burst of acceleration from Thomas saw him eventually ride solo to the finish line.
The pace didn't slow down up behind him with the chasers swept up by the bunch as they attempted to close the gap. Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) made an early move to take second before Van Avermaet sprinted to fourth place on the line and into the blue leader's jersey.
BMC Racing Team remain in control of the General Classification heading into stage 3 with Van Avermaet leading the way ahead of Rohan Dennis and Tejay van Garderen.
Quotes from the Finish Line
Greg Van Avermaet:
"I'm a little disappointed with today's result. My main goal today was the stage win as I felt I had the legs to do that and the course suited me well. Of course, it's always great to wear the leader's jersey, especially at a UCI WorldTour race, and this is really a sign of the performance of the whole team today. Everyone put in a huge effort, and we had to do a lot of the work ourselves today. I am thankful to the team for that."
"We were a little surprised when Thomas attacked, but we had Damiano Caruso with him at the beginning. When Thomas attacked again and was able to go solo at the front of the race, we were in a tricky situation as after all the work we had put in earlier we weren't able to chase hard."
"We have the leader's jersey for another day. I don't think it will be me that keeps hold of it past Saturday but as a team, we are here to do our best, and that means we want to try and win overall."
Stage 2: Camaiore > Pomarance, 229km
Top 3: 1. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) 2. Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) 3. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 4. Greg Van Avermaet 8. Rohan Dennis 27. Tejay van Garderen.
Paris-Nice Stage 5: Bunch Sprint in Bourg-de-Péage
9 March 2017, Bourg-de-Péage (FRA)
Paris-Nice stage 5 was the last chance for the sprinters to claim a win in the eight-day race and they weren’t going to let the opportunity pass with a bunch sprint playing out in Bourg-de-Péage, won by Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal).
After four tough stages of racing, and three days of climbing ahead, the peloton was happy to let a six-rider breakaway go clear with the group gaining an advantage of more than seven minutes.
As the race reached the halfway mark, the sprinters’ teams slowly picked up the pace and began the chase. The breakaway’s advantage began to fall and the catch was made with 12km to go, making way for the sprint trains to form in the final kilometers.
Andre Greipel proved the strongest on the day, with Arnaud Démare (FDJ) and Dylan Groenewegen (Team Lotto-NL Jumbo) rounding out the top three. All of BMC Racing Team’s riders crossed the line safely after a calm, but solid, day of racing before the mountains.
Quotes from the Race Car with Sport Director Yvon Ledanois
“Today was exactly the kind of day that the peloton needed as a bridge between the first four difficult days of racing, and the three very hard days to come in the mountains. It was a long stage, and although the pace wasn’t as intense as the first days, it was a good way to prepare the legs for the final part of the race. We have three stages to go and three big opportunities for Richie Porte and the team. With Richie down on GC we should have a lot more freedom than usual and we will try and use this to our advantage when we can. We are getting closer to the sun and the entire peloton will welcome that.”
Stage 5: Quincié-en-Beaujolais > Bourg-de-Péage
Top 3: 1. Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal), 2. Arnaud Démare (FDJ), 3. Dylan Groenewegen (Team Lotto-NL Jumbo).
BMC Racing Team top 3: 67. Nicolas Roche, 69. Richie Porte, 74. Francisco Ventoso
BMC Racing Team Flickr Gallery
See photos from the race.