Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) seized the chance of a lifetime to claim the coolest trophy in bike racing: the Tirreno-Adriatico trident. The Belgian backed up a triumphant stage 1 team time trial with a cunning win on stage 6 to take the maglia azzurra, then produced a gutsy final time trial to defend it by just one second (!) from Tinkoff’s Peter Sagan. The last stage also saw Tirreno’s best young rider Bob Jungels (Etixx-Quick Step) leap from 4th to claim the third step on the podium.
Rider of the Race
Gosh, where to start with awarding this coveted prize? How about Fabian Cancellera‘s (Trek-Segafredo) blistering fourth Tirreno time trial victory in six years? Or Peter Sagan? He may have been beaten again, but the World Champion could not have ridden any harder or come any closer to a victory. However, this time it has to be a case of ‘to the victor the spoils’.
I may not always appreciate Greg’s style, but there is no doubting his form this year. On the podium in Qatar, victory at Omloop and I’m not betting against him putting the Power Of The Trident to good use in the coming month. I loved that he was so delighted with this unexpected victory.
“It’s special because I won’t win it again. It was the one chance in my life. So I’m happy I got it and that I took it. I’m proud to be the first Belgian winner after Roger De Vlamenick. It’s a hard race.”
The long awaited arrival of young sprint sensation Fernando Gaviria* (Etixx-Quick Step) to the WorldTour could not have got off to a better start. Just days after the successful defence of his Omnium title at the Track World Championships, the Colombian tyro took his first WorldTour victory at the first time of asking. (*nickname pending)
We certainly look forward to more sprint finishes like this between Fernando and Orica-GreenEDGE’s Caleb Ewan. Their contrasting styles are going to keep us enthralled for years.
FDJ in sync
FDJ’s time trialling goes from strength to strength. Already improving last year, they backed up their first ever TTT victory at La Mediterraneenne earlier this year with a swift, sleek and synchronous performance to claim third step of the podium: only beaten on the day by World Champions BMC and the Quicksteppers. They then proceeded to place two riders in the top 10 (four riders in the top 20) on the final TT stage! A superb testament to all their hard work and attention to detail over the years… and of course to those beautiful Lapierre bikes.
Just like at Paris-Nice, the cancellation of the mountain top finish due to snow changed the outcome of this race. But was it to the detriment of the spectacle? I don’t think so. The parcours turned to favour the classics riders and they made the most of it. Every stage provided exciting racing. If the mountain stage had been raced, would we have experienced the thrilling finishes in the last two stages? Who said these stage races always have to be the preserve of grand tour contenders? We may have a got a surprise podium, but they were no less deserving.
1. Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) 20:42:22
2. Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) +0.01
3. Bob Jungels (Etixx-Quick Step) +0:23
4. Sebastien Reichenbach (FDJ) +0.24
5. Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) same time
Points Jersey: Peter Sagan (Tinkoff)
King of the Mountains Jersey: Cesare Benedetti (Bora-Argon 18)
Best Young Rider: Bob Jungels (Etixx-Quick Step)
Team Classification Leader: Etixx-Quick Step
Stage 1 TTT: BMC Final KM here
Stage 2: Zdenek Stybar (Etixx-Quick Step) Final KM here
Stage 3: Fernando Gaviria (Etixx-Quick Step) Final KM here
Stage 4: Stephen Cummings (Dimension Data) Final KM here
Stage 5: Cancelled
Stage 6: Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) Final KM here
Stage 7 ITT: Fabian Cancellara (Trek-Segafredo) Highlights
Links: official race website
Featured Image: Trident power! (from race website)