Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 3: GC Shake Up After Final Uphill Showdown9. March 2018, Trevi (ITA) — Road Team
As expected, Tirreno-Adriatico stage 3 came down to an explosive finale with Greg Van Avermaet moving into second overall on the General Classification after testing his legs on the steep kick up to the line in Trevi.
With 239km of rolling terrain to cover, stage 3 was the longest of the race, and it was no surprise to see five riders being given the freedom to go clear early and build up an advantage that was nudging towards the nine-minute mark after 25km of racing.
The gap was soon brought back under control and going into the second half of the day, the breakaway’s lead, after a strong ride by Stefan Küng at the front of the peloton, was hovering between seven and eight minutes.
Approaching the 70km to go mark, the chase began to heat up and with Patrick Bevin, the race leader at the start of the day, also at the front to help Küng with the pacemaking, the lead of the front group soon started to fall.
However, with 50km to go, the breakaway was still holding onto an advantage of over six minutes, and consequently, the peloton began to pile on the pressure with the speed intensifying and riders starting to sit in single file along the road.
Bevin was involved in a crash with just over 30km to go, but he was able to make his way back into the bunch and finish the stage.
A late attack off the front of the peloton with just over 20km to go saw the gap to the five leaders tumble and just 5km later, the peloton, which had reduced in numbers due to the increase in pace and gradient, was trailing by less than one minute.
The last rider was swept up just as the bell rang to mark the start of the 11km finishing circuit around Trevi and soon the main bunch was hitting the early slopes of the brutal final 2.5km climb, with gradients of up to 20%, for the second time all together.
In the closing kilometers of the race, Van Avermaet, who had been protected by his teammates in the lead up to the final climb, was right up at the front of the race before a decisive move from Primož Roglič (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) saw him go solo under the flamme rouge.
Van Avermaet worked hard behind the lone leader and counter-attacked on one of the steepest parts of the climb but the chase group was eventually brought back together, and with Roglič able to hold on to take the win, the rest of the field was sprinting to the line behind him.
In the end, Van Avermaet finished inside the top twenty, 16 seconds behind the day’s winner, which sees him move into second overall on the General Classification level on time with the new race leader, Geraint Thomas (Team Sky).
Damiano Caruso also put in a solid performance in the closing kilometers of the race, and he now sits fourth overall, eight seconds back heading into stage 4 tomorrow and the mountaintop finish in Sarnano Sassotetto.
Quotes From the Finish Line
Greg Van Avermaet:
"It was a pretty hard finish. I was expecting it to be a little bit less hard actually, but it's difficult to know from the profile how it will really feel. Overall, it was 245km on the bike in super nice weather, and I had really good feelings. I was pretty happy with how I felt on the last climb. The guys did a perfect job all day, and they put me in a good position for the last climb. Roglič then went, and Team Sky was controlling before, with 500m to go, I tried to do something by myself just to feel how good I am. But, with 200-300 meters still to go it was super hard, and I lost position, but in general, I was happy with how the race went."
"The distance today was a big factor for me. I struggled after 200km but once we hit 220km, I wasn't feeling too good, and my body just said 'that's enough'. I kept trying to push, but sometimes, in the end, the body has the final say."
"There are always doubts about where you are at and if you are going well, so there is disappointment there with not being at the front, but I can't be too unhappy. Things other than today have been going well so, I still have some positives. Today, with the neutral, we had 245km to do, and it is not common for Tours to have that so, I am just trying to get through these days as best as possible."
"Damiano is on the GC and coming into the race, I wasn't too concerned about the GC. Initially I was coming here for Richie Porte and when that changed the focus shifted onto Caruso, and I was going to take it day by day. Now that, the GC is gone for me, it will all be about helping Damiano and Greg and then trying to finish it off on the final time trial."
"I inherited the jersey through circumstance with the team yesterday, but it didn't really change the overall plan. It was nice to be in the jersey, and it was a real privilege to ride in the leader's jersey at a big race but, it was back to day job at the front of the bunch, and that's bike racing. It's a team sport, and that was the call."
"It was just a little crash at an inopportune moment. It was a shame really as I had just come off working at the front and had only spent five minutes in the bunch all day and then I managed to get tangled in the crash. I just split some skin from an old injury, so it looked much worse than it was and it just needed to be covered up."
Stage 3: Follonica > Trevi, 239km
Top 3: 1. Primož Roglič (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) 2. Adam Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 3. Tiesj Benoot (Lotto-Soudal)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 18. Greg Van Avermaet 19. Damiano Caruso 57. Michael Schär