Greg van Avermaet wins Tirreno-Adriatico 2016

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Greg van Avermaet wins Tirreno-Adriatico 2016

Belgian stays one second clear of Peter Sagan as Fabian Cancellara wins stage seven time trial

Greg van Avermaet (BMC Racing) sealed Tirreno-Adriatico victory, denying Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) by a single second as Fabian Cancellara (Trek-Segafredo) won the final stage time trial.

Cancellara set a blistering pace to win the stage, comfortably outdoing the other leading time triallists, but all eyes were on the race for the blue jersey with so little separating the leaders.

Greg van Avermaet is the Tirreno-Adriatico 2016 champion, winning by a single second overall (pic: Sirotti)

Sagan, second overall at the start of the day, was the fastest of the top ten GC men but Van Avermaet – who led by eight seconds after his stage six win – finished seven seconds down to earn the narrowest of victories.

Johan le Bon (FDJ) set the early pace, earning a long stint in the hot seat with a mark of 11 minutes, 21 seconds which proved too fast for some of the leading time trial riders.

British champion Alex Dowsett (Movistar) was down the ramp just two minutes after the Frenchman, and put in a solid ride, but stopped the clock two seconds down on Le Bon.

Former world champion Tony Martin (Etixx-QuickStep), likewise, was two seconds down – a fraction faster than Dowsett – while current world champion Vasil Kiryienka (Team Sky) was also unable to dislodge Le Bon.

The Belarussian was fastest through the intermediate time check, but faded in the second part of the course and finished seven seconds down.

Of the earlier starters, there was less good news for Julian Vermote (Etixx-QuickStep) and Britain’s Adam Blythe (Tinkoff) who both fell on the course.

Despite there being very few corners on the course, the latter took to Twitter to admit he over-cooked the run-in to the intermediate time check.

Le Bon’s stay atop the stage classification was finally ended when Cancellara took to the course, Spartacus proving his form ahead of the Spring Classics.

The Swiss ace was four seconds faster at the intermediate time check, and caught both his minute man and two-minute man on the final straight as he shaved 13 seconds off Le Bon’s time.

With nobody able to better Cancellara’s time, attention then switched to the general classification with 34 seconds separating the top ten before the stage.

Tenth-placed Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) was the first of those off the ramp, and stopped the clock in 11.34, which was enough to overtake Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) – the Pole stopping the clock in 11.47.

Roman Kreuziger (Tinkoff) was also overtaken by the Italian, off the pace with a time of 11.57, but FDJ’s Sebastien Reichenbach boosted his own GC standing with a time of 11.35.

Thibaut Pinot (FDJ), who started the stage level on time with his Swiss team-mate also stopped the clock in 11.35 to cap a good day, and week, for the French team.

Gianluca Brambilla (Etixx-QuickStep) tumbled down the standings, though, finishing more than a minute slower than Cancellara.

Brambilla’s team-mate Bob Jungels, in the white jersey of best young rider, just about held off the FDJ duo overall though – his time of 11.41 enough to stay one second clear on GC.

All eyes then turned to the top three, and Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) set a mark of 11.32 – meaning van Avermaet would have to go 11.40 or faster to win.

Zdenek Stybar, second at the start of the day, also tumbled down the GC after posting a time north of 12 minutes.

Van Avermaet’s time crept closer and closer to Sagan’s as he hit the final straight and with 50 metres to go it was touch and go.

But the Belgian dug deep and found one final burst of energy to stop the clock in 11.39 – sealing victory by a solitary second overall.

Tirreno-Adriatico 2016: stage seven – result

1) Fabian Cancellara (SUI) – Trek-Segafredo – 11.08
2) Johan le Bon (FRA) – FDJ +13”
3) Tony Martin (GER) – Etixx-QuickStep +15”
4) Alex Dowsett (GBR) – Movistar – ST
5) Thomas Leezer (NED) – LottoNL-Jumbo +16”
6) Maciej Bodnar (POL) – Tinkoff +17”
7) Alexandre Geniez (FRA) – FDJ +18”
8) Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR) – Dimension Data +19”
9) Vasil Kiryienka (BLR) – Team Sky +20”
10) Damiano Caruso (ITA) – BMC Racing

General classification

1) Greg van Avermaet (BEL) – BMC Racing – 20.42.22hrs
2) Peter Sagan (SVK) – Tinkoff +1”
3) Bob Jungels (LUX) – Etixx-QuickStep +23”
4) Sebastien Reichenbach (SUI ) – FDJ +24”
5) Thibaut Pinot (FRA) – FDJ – ST
6) Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) – Astana +29”
7) Zdenek Stybar (CZE) – Etixx-QuickStep +33”
8) Michal Kwiatkowski (POL) – Team Sky +39”
9) Bauke Mollema (NED) – Trek-Segafredo +45”
10) Roman Kreuziger (CZE) – Tinkoff +48”

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