The penultimate stage of Tirreno-Adriatico – the final road stage before the race concludes with an individual time trial – offered one last opportunity for the sprinters ahead of Milan-San Remo.
And Mark Cavendish was the man to seize it with both hands after his Omega Pharma-QuickStep team launched him with a superb leadout to hand the Manx Missile a comprehensive victory.
Cannondale had put the hammer down earlier to drop Marcel Kittel’s Giant-Shimano team, while several of Andre Greipel’s Lotto-Belisol squad were brought down in a late crash.
However, it wasn’t just fortune which brought Cavendish his second victory of the 2014 season, but a dominant effort by Omega Pharma-QuickStep in the final few kilometres, and it bodes well for Cavendish’s hopes of adding a second Milan-San Remo victory to his glistening CV on Sunday.
Read our five observations from stage six of Tirreno-Adriatico over the following pages.