Tirreno-Adriatico: Stage 1

Wout Van Aert sprints to victory on the opening stage of Tirreno-Adriatico in a big bunch kick as he sees off the challenge of Caleb Ewan and Fernando Gaviria

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Tirreno-Adriatico: Stage 1

Wout Van Aert (Jumbo Visma) sprints to victory on the opening stage of Tirreno-Adriatico in a big bunch kick as he sees off the challenge of Caleb Ewan and Fernando Gaviria

Post training camp, it hasn’t taken long for Wout Van Aert to get his hands in the air as he won the first stage of Tirreno-Adriatico. On a day when six riders were given their freedom for the day to race out front, they stayed in the limelight opening up a gap of over four-minutes before the peloton picked up the pace and ten kilometres before the finish, the leaders were caught by the very large peloton.

On the streets of the start and finish town of Lido di Camaiore, Van Aert started his sprint early and his rivals were unable to challenge him for the stage win and the leader’s jersey. For Van Aert, it is the first victory on the road in 2021.

Wout Van Aert was a very happy bike rider afterwards: “Of course we were going for the win. I just didn’t expect to win today in this strong field. I was positioned perfectly by the team. I had decided not to wait too long because it was a high speed sprint. Fortunately, I was able to hold it until the finish line. I am very happy that my sprinters legs are back. A nice bonus are the bonification seconds. That gives me a few extra seconds ahead of a lot of guys. I want to achieve the highest possible result in the general classification.”

“Both in Strade Bianche and today we rode as a strong team. The guys dropped me off well in the sprint. It makes me proud that I was able to finish the team’s work. We now maneuver ourselves into a great starting position for the rest of the week. We are riding with high morale and have a lot of confidence for what is to follow in the coming days.”

Caleb Ewan: “The team did a fine job as they kept me in a really good position in the long and wide final straight, always a tricky thing to do. It was a really fast run-in to the finish. Maybe, we were a little too far back. In the end, I couldn’t close the gap. Overall, I am really happy with the team performance but we just lost a little too many positions in the final kilometre to come back. And the cross-tailwind made it a really fast sprint as well.”

Peter Sagan (Bora Hansgrohe) “First stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico and, as expected, it came down to a fast bunch sprint. For me, it was also the first race of the 2021 season, so it was important to get back to race rhythm after a long break. The team, once again, did a very good job and I was kept safe in the long, final straight line to the finish. The last kilometre was quite hectic and, unfortunately, I wasn’t in an ideal position to contest the sprint.”

Fernando Gaviria: “The guys did a good job to get me into a good position, but we arrived at the front just maybe a little bit too early and Van Aert got the kick. My form is getting back to where I want it and we’ll take confidence from this first sprint with the aim to get an even better result next time .”

Luka Mezgec (Bike Exchange): “It was quite an easy stage, especially the second part, the flat part we went really easy, so everyone was fresh and in the end, with no corners in the last nine kilometres we all knew it was going to be a bit messy. The team brought me really well up to the front, Jack Bauer was exceptional today and I was actually sitting on a really good wheel with one kilometre to go and I was just waiting. In the end when we opened the sprint I lacked a little bit of cadence because we went super-fast. I was actually fresh, but I didn’t have the cadence.

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