Tirreno-Adriatico: Sprint Showdown is no show


Showdown between world’s fastest a non starter as Matteo Pelucchi (IAM Cycling) surprises by winning bunch kick on stage 2 of Tirreno-Adriatico

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Tirreno-Adriatico: Sprint Showdown is no show

There was more bike tossing than sprint show down as stage 2 of Tirreno-Adriatico went to an ‘unknown’ sprinter, Matteo Pelucchi. The Italian defeated Ride London Classic winner Arnaud Démare (FDJ) and one of the stage favourites, André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol).

2014Dowsett_BreakThe sprint came after an eventful run in where first, Alex Dowsett (Movistar) was caught with just six kilometres to go after a race long break, and then Marcel Kittel crashed and proceeded to throw his bike to the ground in frustration. Race leader, Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma Quickstep) got caught behind the crash and cruised to the line keeping his leader’s jersey.

Pelucchi is yet another an ‘unknown’ coming to the fore in 2014 and showing the sprints in the Grand Tours could well be more than a two horse race (Kittel & Cavendish). The IAM rider helped raise the profile of his team by coming off the wheel of Greipel and breaking clear of his rivals in the dash to the line. The win as all the more impressive as Pelucchi didn’t have the sprint trains that the bigger sprint stars did. Maybe his team will now …

On a stage which was always favourite to end in a bunch kick, there was the usual hustle and bustle at the start as riders tried to get in the day’s break and in that mix was Essex boy, Alex Dowsett (Movistar) (right). He was with Daniel Teklehaymanot (MTN-Qhubeka), Marco Canola (Bardiani-CSF), David de la Cruz (NetApp-Endura) and Davide Malacarne (Europcar) who got clear after only a few kilometres.

With the sprinter teams, which included that of race leader Mark Cavendish, controlling the peloton, the break opened up a good gap before the lead started to drop as they approached the finale. With 30k remaining and after collecting five bonus seconds at the ‘Traguardi Volanti’, he went solo and using those time trial skills well, the Essex boy managed to hold off the peloton until 6k to go.

He was however in the best place, on his own, as behind riders started to crash into each other back in the peloton. Greipel lost some of his troops and with things getting jittery, it was the team of Contador, Tinkoff Saxo who put men at the front. As the sprint teams went into battle, FDJ, Giant-Shimano and Italian team Lampre; stage favourite Kittel crashed.

The TV cameras quickly gave him their full attention in time to see him throw his bike to the ground. Afterwards on twitter, Kittel said “I’m VERY sorry for throwing my beloved Giant Propel on the ground. I still love it! We’re just having an intense relationship” LoL.

“Marcel came down coming out of a roundabout in the last 3km, and it was a real shame that he couldn’t contest a finish which was perfect for him,” said his Giant Shimano team coach Aike Visbeek.

Despite going into the race with the ‘lead out dream team”, Omega Pharma Quickstep were noticeable by their absence due to the crashes and a stage win for Cav went begging while Pelucchi hogged the lime light and put his name into the hat of the worlds fastest sprinters. “I was behind Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) when he crashed,” Cavendish said about the crash of the German sprinter for Giant-Shimano inside the final few kilometres.

“So, I was in the back a bit and lost some speed. I had to use a lot of energy to return to the front. The team did a good job getting me back there. In the end it was a bit chaotic. But that can happen in cycling. Today I had a good feeling throughout the race, so I am pretty confident about the next stages.”

One of his key lead out men Mark Renshaw said later on twitter “Luckily I could pull my trusty Specialized Venge up before running over Marcel Kittel. No chance to come back and help MarkCavendish out.”

A dedication from the stage winner

2014 Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 2

Photo: Matteo Pelucchi (IAM Cycling) (event website http://www.gazzetta.it)

Winner of stage 2 in Tirreno-Adriatico, Matteo Pelucchi (IAM Cycling) dedicated the win to former teammate Kristof Goddaert, who died tragically in an accident while training on February 18th.

“This victory is for you, Kristof” Pelucchi said. “I gave everything I had to have this chance to dedicate a win to you up there, from where you are looking down and watching us.”

“What have I done?” the surprised winner exclaimed after the podium presentation? “I don’t think it has sunk in yet. It will take me a little time. Though I was first across the line, it is thanks to the amazing team work from all the guys. During the final circuit, all my teammates fulfilled all their tasks, protecting me perfectly at the front of the pack.”

“I simply couldn’t disappoint them. Roger Kluge and Heinrich Haussler were assigned to protect me and slotted me into an ideal position once we passed under the final kilometre marker. But the whole sprint set up was total confusion and chaos. There really wasn’t much of a team with a train to take the situation in hand.”

“I initially set myself onto Cavendish’s wheel, but then I gained a few places to grab onto Greipel with 300 meters to go. I came out from behind his draft and in spite of the head wind, I held on for the win. The training I worked through this whole winter is paying off today.”

“It has not always been easy. But during the race in Mallorca, I could already see the progress I had made. Now to win a World Tour event in my third participation in a race of this level, will give me great confidence. And it will also give my teammates a boost and motivation in the training days and races ahead.”


1 PELUCCHI Matteo IAM Cycling 3:56:12
2 DéMARE Arnaud FDJ.fr
3 GREIPEL André Lotto Belisol
4 BENNETT Sam Team NetApp – Endura
5 SAGAN Peter Cannondale
6 APPOLLONIO Davide AG2R La Mondiale
7 FORTIN Filippo Bardiani – CSF
8 MODOLO Sacha Lampre – Merida
9 HUREL Tony Team Europcar
10 SBARAGLI Kristian MTN – Qhubeka

17 CAVENDISH Mark Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
18 BAUER Jack Garmin Sharp
24 CLARKE Simon Orica GreenEDGE
25 PORTE Richie Team Sky
26 URAN Rigoberto Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
29 QUINTANA Nairo Movistar Team
30 CONTADOR Alberto Tinkoff-Saxo
36 PETACCHI Alessandro Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
39 EVANS Cadel BMC Racing Team
46 HORNER Chris Lampre – Merida
48 GILBERT Philippe BMC Racing Team
56 STANNARD Ian Team Sky
77 CANCELLARA Fabian Trek Factory Racing
78 MARTIN Tony Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
81 DEMPSTER Zakkari Team NetApp – Endura
107 CIOLEK Gerald MTN – Qhubeka
114 VOSS Paul Team NetApp – Endura
121 DOWSETT Alex Movistar Team
125 ROCHE Nicolas Tinkoff-Saxo
136 KENNAUGH Peter Team Sky
144 MILLAR David Garmin Sharp
145 WIGGINS Bradley Team Sky
158 RENSHAW Mark Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
162 KITTEL Marcel Team Giant-Shimano


1 CAVENDISH Mark Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 04:16:25
2 KWIATKOWSKI Michal Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
3 URAN Rigoberto Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
4 RENSHAW Mark Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
5 PETACCHI Alessandro Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 00:02
6 MARTIN Tony Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 00:03
7 CLARKE Simon Orica GreenEDGE 00:11
8 IMPEY Daryl Orica GreenEDGE
9 TUFT Svein Orica GreenEDGE
11 HEPBURN Michael Orica GreenEDGE
12 DURBRIDGE Luke Orica GreenEDGE
13 MEYER Cameron Orica GreenEDGE
14 DOWSETT Alex Movistar Team 00:12
15 QUINTANA Nairo Movistar Team 00:18


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