Adam Yates fights off the attacks to retain the lead at Tirreno-AdriaticoSat 16 Mar 2019
A strong ride from race leader Adam Yates saw him retain the leader’s jersey after fighting off attacks on a brutal stage four at Tirreno-Adriatico.
The 26-year-old took third on the day after making it into a select group over the punishing final climb with Alexey Lutsenko (Astana Pro Team) taking the win after crashing twice whilst leading solo.
With bonus seconds up for grabs on the line, it was a fiercely contested sprint finale and despite being beaten by Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma), Yates still holds onto the race lead by seven seconds after grabbing bonus seconds himself on the penultimate lap.
Tough day ahead
With hard day on the cards, 10 riders jumped up the road as soon as the flag dropped, however, as Joey Josskopf (CCC Team) was amongst them, the peloton were keen to keep the time gap manageable with the American at less than two minutes down on the general classification.
The gap began to fall with 85km remaining and it fell below four and a half minutes just 20km later with Astana Pro Team, Lotto Soudal and Team Jumbo-Visma all committing men to the chase. Meanwhile, Mitchelton-SCOTT were happy to let the other teams do the work and focused on keeping Yates safe in the leader’s jersey as the race passed over a number of steep ramps.
A small group of favourites jumped out of the peloton and past the remainder of the breakaway with 40km to go, as the road ramped up to 18% on the second categorised climb of the day.
Race leader Yates was alert to the danger and joined a small group of nine, but a lull in the pace saw Lutsenko try his luck and he opened up a sizeable gap of over 50 seconds while the riders behind struggled to get organised.
As the race hit the finishing loop, the reduced peloton bridged across to the group of eight, but not before Yates stole two bonus seconds on the line.
It was Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma) who made his move on the final lap and Yates quickly jumped onto his wheel with Jakob Fuglsang (Astana Pro Team) making it a trio.
A second crash for Lutsenko out front meant that the finale came down to a four-way sprint for victory, but despite his falls the Kazakh rider proved to be the fastest man in the sprint, taking the win with Yates grabbing third to hold onto the race lead.
“It was a hard stage in the end, almost like an Ardennes Classic, up and down all day with steep and twisty roads.”
“But the guys looked after me all day again, we stayed in a good position where we could and I could save a lot of energy for the final.”
“It was a tricky stage, super hard there in the final, Roglic was riding a super high pace and there was only me and Fuglsang who could hang on.”
“We’ll have to look at the time gaps, I’m not sure how far the group was behind us, but obviously we still need to take time and I think now my main rival is Roglic, he’s super strong in the TT and he’ll take a lot of time on the last stage, so we have to try tomorrow.”
Matt White (Sports Director):
“Today was a very, very tough day, it was like an Italian Amstel Gold, but harder! It was an incredibly tough second-half of the stage and the race went to pieces in the final hour of the race."
"It was a great win for Lutsenko, crashing twice and still taking the win, an incredible effort by him."
"But for us, the guys rode well, Adam showed that he’s one of the strongest guys here and we have one big day ahead of us tomorrow.”
Tirreno-Adriatico stage four results:
1. Alexey Lutsenko (Astana Pro Team) 5:16:29
2. Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma) ST
3. Adam Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST
Tirreno-Adriatico GC after stage four:
1. Adam Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 15:53:42
2. Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma) +0:07
3. Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) +0:50
Photo courtesy of Getty Images.