Tirreno-Adriatico: Epic stage sees Froome drop to 2nd as Sagan wins stage


On a brutal stage that saw a load of DNFs, Peter Sagan showed his monster power to get over the climbs with Joaquim Rodriguez and Vincenzo Nibali and then win the sprint for the win

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It was a brutal stage, a freak one was how at least one rider described it and with a climb soaked in water from the rain and a gradient of 27%, it saw the race leader Chris Froome lose the overall lead whilst riders such as Mark Cavendish, Peter Kennaugh, Zak Dempster, Andy Schleck and others all abandoned.

Video of the final kilometres (not English commentary)

Vincenzo Nibali now leads the race overall from Froome with only a time trial to come. The Kenyan born rider, Froome, found himself distanced in the finale after what was left of the peloton stretched and snapped on the incredible 27-per-cent ramps of the Sant’Elpidio a Mare climb. With riders almost coming to a standstill on the ascent, many reduced to walking, three distinct groups formed on the flat run-in to Porto Sant’Elpidio, with Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) taking advantage of his skills on the subsequent descent to forge clear with Peter Sagan (Cannondale) in tow.

The pair were joined by Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) in a tense run to the line as Froome, on his own for the first time in the race, fought to get back across to the next set of chasers. At the finish Sagan used his Hulk like kick to good effect to take his second stage win ahead of Nibali and Rodriguez while Froome finished in the third chasing group on the road.

The result elevated Nibali into a 34-second lead over the Team Sky rider with just a 9.2-kilometre time trial remaining on the final day. Rodriguez sits a further three seconds back while Alberto Contador (Team Saxo-Tinkoff) occupies fourth, 14 seconds behind Froome after coming home in the second chase group.


More rain in Italy
The awful weather returned to the race on arguably the toughest day of racing thus far and early moves were crucial as the race left its hub of Porto Sant’Elpidio. Team Sky with the race leader in their number, controlled the race closely during the opening kilometres as they sought to let a break go clear which they were satisfied with.
After a number of attacks, a sizeable group of 16 finally forged ahead with many big names in it. Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Leopard), Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Merida) and Tour of Britain winner Lars Boom (Blanco Cycling) as well as former Endura Racing rider, Paul Voss (NetApp-Endura).

On a parcours packed with short, sharp climbs, it was no surprise to see a number of riders climb off but it was the three ascents of the Sant’Elpidio a Mare that added the freakish touch to the race. Team Sky did their best to keep control of the race for as long as possible with Kennaugh, Joe Dombrowski, Christian Knees and Salvatore Puccio helping with the pace-setting before Dario Cataldo, Rigoberto Urán and Henao took over on the climbs.

Team Sky though had no answer when former teammates at Liquigas Sagan and Nibali made their move on the descent and Katusha’s Rodriguez made a bid for the final podium by bridging across. The trio combined to hold off a chasing group of Contador, Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Chris Horner (RadioShack-Leopard) and Mauro Santambrogio (Vini Fantini) with Sagan having plenty of room to celebrate the win.

The new race leader, Nibali was modest afterwards, explaining that everyone was tired and that he was lucky. He does know however that the race is far from over and admitting that the time trial will be very hard. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) meanwhile explained “it was a really hard stage, also because of the bad weather conditions – said the Spanish rider – but I think it was very spectacular and people will remember what happened today for a long time. I felt in a great shape in the final part, and once I managed to join Nibali and Sagan I tried to gain as much time as possible in order to improve my general classification. Now I’ll do my best to keep this podium place, even if I know it will be very hard”

Michael Kwiatkowski, 5th overall, said of the stage “It was a long day, and also cold. I managed to always stay in the front. On the last climb, the steepest one, it was not so easy for me to stay with the best. But I did all I could and I really didn’t lose much time. After the climb, I was fortunately in a little group who took turns and worked together.”

“We were able to basically catch the group in front of us, which was really important for me to try and limit the time between me and guys like Contador and Horner, as we are close in the GC. Now I am in a good position. The podium is maybe possible, but I really want to enjoy this moment with my teammates.”



1. SAGAN Peter Cannondale Pro Cycling Team 05:45:17
2. NIBALI Vincenzo Astana Pro Team 00:02
3. RODRIGUEZ OLIVER Joaquim Katusha Team
4. SANTAMBROGIO Mauro Vini Fantini 00:44
5. SANCHEZ Samuel Euskaltel – Euskadi
6. HORNER Chris RadioShack – Leopard
7. CONTADOR Alberto Team Saxo-Tinkoff
8. ROELANDTS Jurgen Lotto Belisol Team 00:50
9. HUSHOVD Thor BMC Racing Team
10. GESCHKE Simon Team Argos – Shimano

18 EVANS Cadel BMC Racing Team @ 50 secs
19 FROOME Christopher Sky Procycling
40 MARTIN Daniel Garmin – Sharp @4.18
41 VOSS Paul Team NetApp – Endura 4:39
61 DOWSETT Alex Movistar Team @9.57
68 CANCELLARA Fabian RadioShack – Leopard @13.32
80 BOOM Lars Blanco Pro Cycling Team @ 18.42
109 PHINNEY Taylor BMC Racing Team 37:37

1. NIBALI Vincenzo Astana Pro Team 27:57:26
2. FROOME Christopher Sky Procycling 00:34
3. RODRIGUEZ OLIVER Joaquim Katusha Team 00:37
4. CONTADOR VELASCO Alberto Team Saxo-Tinkoff 00:48
5. KWIATKOWSKI Michal Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 00:58
6. HORNER Chris RadioShack – Leopard 01:05
7. SANTAMBROGIO Mauro Vini Fantini 01:20
8. NIEMIEC Przemyslaw Lampre – Merida 02:54
9. AMADOR BAKKAZAKOVA Andrey Movistar Team 02:58
10. POELS Wout Vacansoleil – DCM 03:08


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