Hepburn wraps up Tirreno Adriatico with third on the final stageTue 14 Mar 2017
It would be fair to say that the 52nd Tirreno Adriatico was a race to forget for ORICA-SCOTT, but that was until Michael Hepburn banished the demons to produce a great individual time trial on today’s final stage and take third place on the day.
Rohan Dennis (BMC-Rcaing) was the eventual stage winner, only three seconds ahead of Hepburn with Nairo Quintana (Movistar) sealing the overall race victory.
“It was certainly a good way to end the race,” said Sport director Matt White. “Michael produced a great ride, maybe the best time trial he has ever ridden and was very close to the stage win. He is in good shape at the moment and he is going up another level on the road, which is good for the team and positive for the rest of the season.”
ORICA-SCOTT came into Tirreno Adriatico with ambitions of possible stage success with Caleb Ewan and a tilt at the general classification with Adam Yates.
However it was not to be, crashes and sickness respectively forced out Ewan and Yates whilst the team lost Roger Kluge, Roman Kreuziger and Luke Durbridge to the same virus and were left with only three riders to complete the race.
It was an especially bitter pill to swallow with regards to 24-year-old Yates who was forced out of the race whilst occupying second place of the general classification and leading the best young rider category.
“Obviously the race didn’t go entirely to plan for us,” explained White. “But, we are powerless to change that. Aside from Caleb’s crash, it would be fair to say that a virus ripped through the team and along with it our objectives for the race.”
“Adam was in a great position, riding very well and deserved a place on the podium. It is what it is, of course it’s a shame that our sprint train didn’t get more of a chance to ride together, but the early season signs have still been positive.
“Now we have to hope that the three guys who were left, Michael, Daryl Impey and Luka Mezgec don’t come down with anything before the next races on the calendar.”
How it happened:
Following recent tradition the 52nd Tirreno Adriatico concluded with a ten-kilometre individual time trial in San Benedetto del Tronto on a pan flat sea front course by the Adriatic.
The early time to beat was set by Jos Van Emden (LottoNL-Jumbo) with 11minutes 21seconds although he was almost nudged out of the hot seat by Hepburn who moved straight into provisional second place by a fraction of a second as the bench mark was set.
As the clocked ticked down and one after the other the riders rolled down the ramp, nobody was getting near the times of Van Emden and Hepburn.
That was until Dennis crossed the line some three seconds faster than Van Emden to take the stage win and push Hepburn back into a very respectable third place.
Tirreno Adriatico stage 7 ITT results:
1. Rohan Dennis (BMC-Racing) 00:11:18
2. Jos Van Emden (LottoNL-Jumbo) 00:00:03
3. Michael Hepburn (ORICA-SCOTT) ST
Final General Classification:
1. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) 25:56:27
2. Rohan Dennis (BMC-Racing) 00:00:25
3. Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) 00:00:36
Photos courtesy of ©TDWsport.com