Slovenian sprinter Luka Mezgec was in the mix in the final of today’s opening stage of Tirreno-Adriatico, sprinting to fifth place in Lido di Camaiore for Team BikeExchange, as Wout van Aert (Team Jumbo-Vismas) charged ahead to the stage victory.
The 156km day began with six riders animating the early-stage proceeding’s, opening up a gap of over four-minutes before the peloton picked up the pace and drew the lead group back in, just in time for a predicted bunch sprint.
Mezgec was dropped into position in the final kilometre by teammate mate Jack Bauer, before surfing the wheels in the final metres to give Team BikeExchange a strong top-five placing to kick start the seven-day Italian race.
“It was quite an easy stage, especially the second part, the flat part we went really easy, so everyone was fresh and in the end, with no corners in the last nine kilometres we all knew it was going to be a bit messy.
“The team brought me really well up to the front, Jack Bauer was exceptional today and I was actually sitting on a really good wheel with one kilometre to go and I was just waiting. In the end when we opened the sprint I lacked a little bit of cadence because we went super-fast. I was actually fresh, but I didn’t have the cadence.
Matt White – Head Sport Director:
“It was a good start, always a nervous start to the race but beautiful conditions and a good sprint for Luka and we got our leader Simon Yates through safe and sound.
“I looked at the course for tomorrow and it will be a long day and a tough day but could be a reduced group sprint, so it will be a good day for one of our faster guys. It is an uphill finish but I don’t think it is hard enough for the pure climbers.”
2021 Tirreno Adriatico Stage 1 Results:
1. Wout van Aert (Team Jumbo-Visma) 3:36:17
2. Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) ST
3. Fernando Gaviria (UAE Emirates) ST
5. Luka Mezgec (Team BikeExchange) ST
General Classification after stage 1:
1. Wout van Aert (Team Jumbo-Visma) 3:36:07
2. Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) +0:04
3. Fernando Gaviria (UAE Emirates) +0:06
7. Luka Mezgec (Team BikeExchange) +0:10
Photo courtesy of Getty Images