Tirreno-Adriatico 2018: Geraint Thomas claims blue jersey as Primoz Roglic wins stage three
Team Sky man takes race lead after fourth place on uphill finish; Adam Yates second on the day
Geraint Thomas is the new leader of Tirreno-Adriatico 2018, after finishing fourth on a thrilling finale to stage three in Trevi.
Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo) won the stage on the uphill finish, three seconds clear of Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) and with Tiesj Benoot (Lotto-Soudal) another three back.
But it is Thomas who will pull on the blue jersey on stage three, after kicking late to take fourth place, and he now leads Greg van Avermaet (BMC Racing) on countback, three seconds ahead of Sky team-mate Chris Froome.
The longest stage of this year’s race – a 239km monster with that nasty sting in the tail – saw five riders go clear in the breakaway, with all four ProContinental teams represented.
BMC Racing led the peloton, with even blue jersey Patrick Bevin taking a pull on the front – clearly highlighting that van Avermaet would be their protected rider.
Nicola Bagioli (Nippo-Vini Fantini) cemented his lead in the mountains classification from the break, who still led by seven minutes after 150km of racing, but Bora-hansgrohe sent Marcus Burghardt to the front of the bunch to chop into that advantage.
As the pace increased, the peloton lined out and by the first ascent of Trevi the gap to the break was tumbling and the peloton was thinning.
Team Sky took over at the head of affairs over the top, and had strength in numbers in the front group when the break was swept up – Bagioli having been the last man standing.
The front group was composed of an interesting mix of GC riders and stage hunters, with the likes of van Avermaet, Peter Sagan (Bora-hansgrohe) and Philippe Gilbert (QuickStep Floors) all interested in the uphill finish.
Sky continued to set the tempo, however, nullifying a short-lived Steve Morabito (Groupama-FDJ) attack and continuing to check off the kilometres.
On the lower slopes of the climb, Bahrain-Merida briefly got a sniff of the front before Sky resumed duties – though both teams were powerless to stop Roglic escaping.
The Slovenian had a decent gap as he entered the final kilometre, while Sagan was among the riders dropped at the back of the bunch.
Van Avermaet attacked inside the final 500m, as did Yates, but Roglic stood firm even as the fierce gradients of the final kilometres bit hardest.
Yates closed in fast but ultimately not fast enough, just running out of road as Roglic celebrated the stage win ahead of the Englishman and Benoot.
Thomas stole a march on the rest of the bunch, meanwhile, and will now wear the blue jersey on stage four – the queen stage, which concludes with the Sarnano Sassotetto climb.
Tirreno-Adriatico 2018: stage three – result
1) Primoz Roglic (SVN) – LottoNL-Jumbo – 6.17.23hrs
2) Adam Yates (GBR) – Mitchelton-Scott +3"
3) Tiesj Benoot (BEL) – Lotto-Soudal +6"
4) Geraint Thomas (GBR) – Team Sky +7"
5) Rigoberto Uran (COL) – EF-Drapac +10"
6) Mikel Landa (ESP) – Movistar – ST
7) Gianni Moscon (ITA) – Team Sky
8) Romain Bardet (FRA) – Ag2r-La Mondiale
9) Wilco Kelderman (NED) – Team Sunweb
10) Bob Jungels (LUX) – QuickStep Floors
1) Geraint Thomas (GBR) – Team Sky – 10.52.22hrs
2) Greg van Avermaet (BEL) – BMC Racing – ST
3) Chris Froome (GBR) – Team Sky +3"
4) Damiano Caruso (ITA) – BMC Racing +8"
5) Michal Kwiatkowski (POL) – Team Sky +9"
6) Bob Jungels (LUX) – QuickStep Floors – ST
7) Wilco Kelderman (NED) – Team Sunweb +19"
8) Davide Formolo (ITA) – Bora-hansgrohe +30"
9) Tom Dumoulin (NED) – Team Sunweb +33"
10) Rigoberto Uran (COL) – Team EF-Drapac +39"