This year’s edition of Tirreno-Adriatico was a real rip-roarer. Although the GC battle itself never really caught fire, the stage wins were surprising and dramatic. And it even had a final twist in the tale: Primoz Roglic relieved Adam Yates of the leader’s jersey he’d worn almost all week to lift the mighty Trident, winning by just one second. Jakob Fuglsang kept his spring form to take third.
Rider(s) of the Race
While Primoz Roglic and Adam Yates brought the last second drama in the finishing stage today, it was only a footnote to some of the wild racing that happened throughout the week. Out of the seven stages, only four teams were represented on the top step each day – Mitchelton-Scott (stage 1); Deceuninck-QuickStep (stages 2, 3 and 6); Astana (stages 4 and 5) and Lotto-Soudal (stage 7). And of those stages there were two riders who particularly lit up the week, although in very different ways.
My first rider of the race is Julian Alaphilippe. The only multi-stage winner of the race, he took stage 2 in an uphill sprint against Greg Van Avermaet (CCC) and Alberto Bettiol (EF-Education First), after following all of the eventual GC winner Roglic’s attacks in the final kilometre. He then took a thrilling – and completely unexpected – stage 6 in a flat-out bunch sprint after teammate Elia Viviani latched onto Peter Sagan‘s wheel and lost momentum. Alaphilippe kept on the wheel of the team’s leadout man, Max Richeze, before burning the tarmac to a fabulous finish. Milan-SanRemo, here we come.
My other rider of the race is Astana’s Alexey Lutsenko. If Alaphilippe gave us the razzmatazz wins, it was Lutsenko who brought the drama and the road rash. Stage 4 saw the Kazakh rider out on a solo break but crashing twice in the final 20km, which gave race leader Yates, Roglic and Fuglsang an opportunity to catch him up with just two kilometres to go. But never say die, an adrenaline-pumped Lutsenko went on to win in a sprint to the line. A win with heart, the sobs that came from Lutsenko after the stage were a mixture of pain and joy (as the first Kazakh rider to win a stage in Tirreno-Adriatico).
Time trials of the GC
It was the opening TTT, won by Michelton-Scott by 7 seconds over Jumbo-Visma, that gave Adam Yates the GC advantage up until the final stage. Taking over the leader’s jersey from his teammate Michael Hepburn on stage 2, Yates rode a fairly quiet race, leaving all the fireworks to the stage winners. Although he didn’t win an individual stage, he worked hard to keep his rivals under control, particularly Roglic. By the end of stage 6, Yates had 25sec on the JumboBee, and 35sec on third placed Jakob Fuglsang. It was down to the final time trial – the stage won by Victor Campenaerts (Lotto Soudal). Roglic kept his cool, Yates not so much, and when Yates sprinted for the line, he came up one second short.
1 Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 25:28:00
2 Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) +0:01
3 Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) +0:30
4 Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) +1:25
5 Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) +2:32
6 Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) +2:34
7 Wout Poels (Sky) +2:42
8 Simon Clarke (EF Education First) +3:01
9 Sam Oomen (Sunweb) +3:12
10 Rui Costa (UAE Emirates) +3:18
All the jerseys
Points classification: Mirco Maestri (Bardiani CSF)
Mountain classification: Alexey Lutsenko (Astana)
Best young rider: Sam Oomen (Sunweb)
Stage 1 : TTT – Mitchelton-Scott
Stage 2 : Julian Alaphilippe
Stage 3 : Elia Viviani
Stage 4 : Alexey Lutsenko
Stage 5 : Jakob Fuglsang
Stage 6 : Julian Alaphilippe
Stage 7 : Victor Campenaerts