Tirreno-Adriatico: Greg van Avermaet wins stage 6; claims lead

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Tirreno-Adriatico 2016: Greg van Avermaet wins stage six and takes race lead

Belgian pips Peter Sagan after small, elite group forge clear on finishing circuit

Greg van Avermaet (BMC Racing) pipped Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) to victory on stage six of Tirreno-Adriatico and took over the race leadership.

With a sprint finish expected, an elite group instead forged clear at the intermediate sprint, including Sagan, van Avermaet and blue jersey Zdenek Stybar (Etixx-QuickStep) and decided to stay out in front.

Greg van Avermaet beat Peter Sagan to win Tirreno-Adriatico stage six and bag the race lead (pic: Sirotti)

Sagan and Stybar boasted team-mates in that front group but it was the lone BMC Racing man, van Avermaet, who forced the world champion to settle for second place once again.

Mirko Selvaggi (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec), Valerio Agnoli (Astana), Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani), Nikolay Mihaylov (CCC Sprandi Polowice), Federico Zurlo (Lampre-Merida), and Ricardo Vilela (Caja Rural) formed the day’s initial break.

But with so much now riding on every last bonus second, they had been brought back before the intermediate sprint, with Peter Sagan’s Tinkoff team leading the way on the front of the peloton.

The sprint for the three bonus seconds was hotly contested, with Tinkoff, BMC Racing and Etixx-QuickStep all looking to spoil the others’ ambitions, but it was Sagan who proved fastest.

Daniele Bennati’s lead-out efforts were too much for him to hold second, however, with Greg van Avermaet (BMC Racing) snaffling two seconds for himself.

The effort of setting up the sprint, however, caused a big gap to appear and Sagan and Bennati pressed on, with an elite group forming with them.

Race leader Zdenek Stybar was present, with Etixx-QuickStep team-mates Fernando Gaviria and Matteo Trentin for company, while Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky), Oscar Gatto (Tinkoff) and van Avermaet completed the group.

Orica-GreenEDGE and Team Dimension Data, in the hunt for a stage win, chased but Reinardt Janse van Rensburg’s efforts for the latter could not stop the gap going out to 25 seconds.

It prompted counter-attacks from Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Jan Bakelants (Ag2r-La Mondiale), but that in turn saw the peloton up the pace and close the gap right back up.

On the penultimate passage of the finish line, Nibali and Bakelants had been swept back up and the gap to the front group was into single digits but again some big turns saw the gap go out again.

Bauke Mollema and Jasper Stuyven (Trek Factory Racing) launched a desperate counter-attack, as Stybar saw Trentin and Gaviria dropped from the front group.

A crash in the peloton, which saw Michele Scarponi (Astana) hit the deck hard clutching his collarbone, further disrupted the chase – now led by Alex Dowsett (Movistar).

And still the break stayed clear, allowing Kwiatkowski to hit the front with 500 metres to go for a long-range effort – the Pole opening up a small gap.

Sagan, in the red jersey, responded well though and turned the final corner in the lead but van Avermaet took his wheel and forged past as the line approached.

And the Belgian did enough to deny Sagan once again, the Slovakian having to settle for another second place.

Kwiatkowski took third, two seconds back, and Stybar in the blue jersey was another two seconds in arrears, but van Avermaet’s time bonus at the finish gives van Avermaet a seven-second lead overall.

Tirreno-Adriatico 2016: stage six – result

1) Greg van Avermaet (BEL) – BMC Racing – 4.34.14hrs
2) Peter Sagan (SVK) – Tinkoff – ST
3) Michal Kwiatkowski (POL) – Team Sky +2”
4) Zdenek Stybar (CZE) – Etixx-QuickStep +4”
5) Caleb Ewan (AUS) – Orica-GreenEDGE +7”
6) Alejandro Valverde (ESP) – Movistar – ST
7) Sacha Modolo (ITA) – Lampre-Merida
8) Jurgen Roelandts (BEL) – Lotto-Soudal
9) Sonny Colbrelli (ITA) – Bardiani-CSF
10) Moreno Hofland (NED) – LottoNL-Jumbo

General classification

1) Greg van Avermaet (BEL) – BMC Racing – 20.30.43hrs
2) Zdenek Stybar (CZE) – Etixx-QuickStep +7”
3) Peter Sagan (SVK) – Tinkoff +8”
4) Bob Jungels (LUX) – Etixx-QuickStep +21”
5) Gianluca Brambilla (ITA) – Etixx-QuickStep – ST
6) Thibaut Pinot (FRA) – FDJ +28”
7) Sebastien Reichenbach (SUI) – FDJ – ST
8) Roman Kreuziger (CZE) – Tinkoff +30”
9) Michal Kwiatkowski (POL) – Team Sky +31”
10) Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) – Astana +34”

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