Tirreno-Adriatico: Cavendish wins Eventful Bunch Kick


Omega Pharma Quickstep boss the finish of stage 6 with a 1-2 led by Mark Cavendish – Al berto Contador continues to lead overall

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Tirreno-Adriatico: Cavendish wins Eventful Bunch Kick

Sprint stages are usually not that eventful but this one had so much more. As well as the win by Cavendish and the text book leadout by his teammates which saw three of them in the top 10, there was the long break for Peter Kennaugh and Jack Bauer in a break of four and also the fragility of Marcel Kittel on a lumpy run in.


Cavendish gets his win in Tirreno-Adriatico – Photo: www.tirrenoadriatico.it 

Oh, and a crash! There always seems to be a crash and again, Lotto-Belisol lost riders which just made it that more impossible for a stranded Griepel to even get close to the sprint action.

In the end, the finish was not even close with Cavendish out on his own celebrating.

Omega Pharma – Quick-Step bounced back from losing the leaders jersey the day before by dominating the front so much in the final kilometres of the 189 kilometre stage Monday, that they had five riders in front of Mark Cavendish with about 2.6 kilometres to go.

Whilst Cannondale had done a lot of work in helping destroy Marcel Kittel’s hopes, it came down to just Alessandro Petacchi and Cavendish on the finish line; 1-2 with a considerable distance between them and the rest of the field. Mark Renshaw was also 9th.

Earlier in the day, four riders, Peter Kennaugh (Sky), Steve Morabito (BMC), Jack Bauer (Garmin-Sharp) and Cesare Benedetti (NetApp-Endura) took on the challenge of being in the day’s break and formed the front group. Whilst they sailed along out front, things behind were getting tasty.

Towards the final 35 kilometres of the stage, the course became a little lumpy and as several sprinters were dropped on the climbs, the Cannondale team did not hesitate to increase the pace of the peloton to prevent them from coming back and at the same time dragging the escapees into the clutches of the peloton once more.

Then, when the breakaway caught inside 10km to go, Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team) went off the front. He was brought back with 3.4km to go. Omega Pharma – Quick-Step then moved up on the right, all five riders of the lead-out train ready to guide the Manx Missile to launching position.

Lotto-Belisol and Lampre-Merida were trying to move up on the left hand side. However, OPQS picked up the pace so much that the peloton became strung out. A crash then destroyed the hopes of a many a contender as gaps opened up and the Cavendish express raced to the finish full gas with Cavendish steaming across the line to add another win to his meagre pickings so far this year. Quality not quantity for him in 2014 perhaps …

170314 OPQS Tirreno Adriatico Stage 6

Photo: OPQS/Tim De Waele

“I’m incredibly happy,” Cavendish said afterwards. “Yesterday I felt really the worst I’ve felt in a long time. Considering the day before, today I felt really good even from the beginning. The team stayed with me, with one goal today obviously to win the sprint.”

“Kwiatkowski was sad about yesterday, but he gave everything today to try and get us the win. We didn’t have to work as we worked the whole week. We’re tired. We knew Cannondale would try to break it up on the last climb, another difficult climb.”

“But the team stayed with me, especially Kwiato and Tony keeping me out of the wind and bringing me back to the front as soon as possible. Then that lead out, that leadout was fast. The whole team was fabulous in the final.”

“We stayed together, we didn’t get carried away and go too early. So we had the all the big motors in the last four kilometers. Tony just went on the front with no one to match us. Then Kwiato went and took us into the last kilometer. Then it was down to Matteo, Renshaw, Petacchi, and myself.”

“I knew when Renshaw went with about 600 meters to go, I knew it would be hard for anyone to pass because we were going that fast. We were doing more than 1000 watts for the last 600 meters. It was like doing a sprint. You know with the kind of team we have here it is always going to be fast”.

170314 OPQS Tirreno Adriatico Stage 6 ArrivalCavendish (c) Tim De Waele

Photo: OPQS/Tim De Waele

“You saw it in the team time trial. But to get it perfect technically like we did I was super super happy with that. We can go home and celebrate this victory tonight, and go for a good result with our two big engines tomorrow: Kwiato and Tony.”

“I feel like Omega Pharma – Quick-Step brought a strong team here. Not just in the legs, but a group of friends. It really feels like a family. It’s a nice situation to be in. There isn’t a lot of pressure, we just want to go out and do well. It’s so refreshing and nice to be back like that. We’ve got 23-year-olds like Kwiato and Matteo, and 40-year-olds like Alessandro. But it really feels like a bunch of kids just going out to race their bikes.”

OPQS looks next to the final stage tomorrow: A 9.1km ITT. UCI World TT Champion Tony Martin and Michal Kwiatkowski will be eyeing this stage for top results.

Marcel Kittel Distanced

Marcel Kittel was twice distanced in the final 50km of the stage as the pace in the peloton was increased, with the second occasion proving to be too much. Despite a frantic chase with the team, they could not get back in contact with the peloton and Marcel was reduced to finishing in the second group on the road.

Following the stage, Marcel was full of praise for his teammates, saying: “I can’t thank my teammates enough for trying like they did today. It was all good until the final climbs where Cannondale tried to drop me. My team waited for me after the first climb and we got back on but then they did it again on the final climb.

“The guys waited again and went full gas to try and get me back to the front. We got really close and almost made it back but not quite. It was quite a display of teamwork and strength from the guys today. It didn’t work out for us today but it will be our day again soon.”


1 CAVENDISH Mark Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
2 PETACCHI Alessandro Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
3 SAGAN Peter Cannondale
4 DéMARE Arnaud FDJ.fr
5 HUREL Tony Team Europcar
6 WAGNER Robert Belkin-Pro Cycling Team
7 SBARAGLI Kristian MTN – Qhubeka
8 HUZARSKI Bartosz Team NetApp – Endura
9 RENSHAW Mark Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
10 APPOLLONIO Davide AG2R La Mondiale

1. Alberto Contador


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