A hard and lengthy 205km fifth stage in Tirreno-Adriatico saw a shake-up in the classification with significant splits occurring in the peloton, which saw defending champion Simon Yates sneak back up the GC to 10th position for Team BikeExchange.
Fresh from a strong sixth place finish on day two, young Australian Robert Stannard made it into the main breakaway of the stage alongside four other riders, before a dangerous group of favourites ended their hopes and bridged over, making the catch with 55km to go.
Yates initially missed the move, but was able to quickly jump across with Nairo Quintana (Arkea-Samsic), riding himself back into contention, but it proved to be too late to contest the stage win as ahead, Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix), clipped off the front solo and established a lead of over four-minutes.
In a battle for the classification and stage victory, Tadej Pogacar (UAE-Team Emirates) went in pursuit of the sole leader Van der Poel and came close, almost stealing the stage victory from the Dutch champion, but had to settle for second but extending his overall lead with just two days remaining.
“It was a very difficult day, some good racing but a very very cold day and I tried to do my best. The goal today was to try and win the stage but those really explosive, classics guys they’re way too fast for me, so I did what I could and moving to 10th overall is just a small extra bonus.
“I felt the legs this morning, after yesterday’s effort, they were tired and very heavy but it was ok I think it was a hard day in general for everyone with the conditions and we did what we could.”
2021 Tirreno–Adriatico Stage 5 Results:
1. Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) 4:48:17
2. Tadej Pogacar (UAE-Team Emirates) +0:10
3. Wout van Aert (Team Jumbo-Visma) +0:49
21. Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange) +5:02
General Classification after stage 5:
1. Tadej Pogacar (UAE-Team Emirates) 17:53:21
2. Wout van Aert (Team Jumbo-Visma) +1:15
3. Mikel Landa (Bahrain-Vitorious) 3+:30
10. Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange) +6:58
Photo courtesy of Getty Images