It’s time to salute and sing of the praises of riders who rarely take the spotlight themselves. The last ones standing by their leader on the mountain or in the white heat of the sprint. Need some pace setting, a bidon, banana or waterproof? These are the teammates you call. Here’s our unsung hero selection. But if you’d like to sing the praises of someone not on our list, it’s time for a write in vote …
Previous winners: 2015 – Manuel Quinziato; 2016 – Stephen Cummings and Damien Howson; 2017 – Daniel Oss
A shorter stage, a lively route with a tricky, steep, cobbled finish – used in stage 5 of Tirreno-Adriatico and won by Adam Yates – that wound round the ramparts of the historic finish town. This should’ve suited a punchy, explosive rider. It did, but not one everybody expected. Race leader Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) shot up that final climb like a rocket to take his second stage win. Defending champion Tom Dumoulin had him in his sights but couldn’t close the gap on that final cobbled kilometre, which seemed to go on forever. However, he’s only 47 secs back. Davide Formolo (Bora-hansgrohe) took third place. The top two tightened their grip on GC and there are now only four riders within two minutes of Yates.
Mountains on the menu. Who had their climbing legs? Who had a day forget? Where on earth did that pony come from?