Caleb Ewan fifth on stage six of Tirreno-Adriatico

Mon 14 Mar 2016

Australian sprinting sensation Caleb Ewan won the race for the line behind the day's late attack to place fifth on the penultimate stage of Tirreno-Adriatico.

The stage was won by Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) after following a late move by Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) in the last kilometre of the race. The win puts Van Avermaet into the lead in the overall general classification heading into the final day of racing tomorrow.

Despite missing out on the opportunity to contest a full sprint, sports director Matthew White praised the team for trying to take control of the race.

”It’s a shame Caleb didn’t get the chance to sprint for the win, we were doing great a job controlling things for most of the day," White said. "The crash on the last circuit changed the shape of the race completely.”

”There is no doubt that yesterday’s unscheduled rest day had an effect on today’s result. Without the mountain stage, you ended up with the best classics riders in the world in the final move. At least we got back on the front and tried to bring it all back together again.”

”Caleb did really well to get as close as he did in the finale and overall the team rode very solidly throughout the day.”

How it happened:

After the cancellation of stage five because of snow, there was collective relief in the peloton to arrive at the start of stage six in Castelraimundo to find the sun breaking through the clouds and no sign of the forecasted rain. As the race made its way out of the neutral zone a couple of half-hearted breakaway attempts were made before a group of six were allowed to escape.

Approaching the day's first king of the mountains points, 27.5kilometres into the stage, the leading group of six riders had an advantage of five minutes 18 seconds, which was the maximum advantage they would gain.

An uneventful 65kilometres passed by before ORICA-GreenEDGE, with Chris Juul Jensen and Svein Tuft positioned on the front of the bunch, began to bring back the leaders. Before long the advantage had been reduced to just over three minutes. The situation stayed the same until the the race arrived in Cepagatti to begin the finishing circuits. With 21kilometres left to race the field was together again and the real action began.

An elite group of eight riders including Sagan, Van Avermaet, Zdenek Stybar (Etixx-Quickstep) and Michael Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) escaped after the bonus sprint and gained 27seconds on the peloton. Continuing at a fast pace, Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Jan Bakelants (AG2R) managed to bridge across and together the group increased the advantage to 35seconds.

A crash at the foot of the final climb disrupted the chasing peloton with many riders losing contact. Kwiatkowski launched a ferocious attack within the last kilometre which splintered the leading group which were now only 10seconds clear.

Sagan was next to take off and with 200metres to go looked like he might hold on to the line, but Van Avermaet fought on and crossed the line ahead of the world champion. Kwiatkowski and Stybar came in two seconds behind, unable to make up the lost ground.

Ewan, showcasing his incredible speed, burst away from what remained of the chasing peloton and won the sprint for fifth place. Adam Yates fiinished in 18th position, moving up into 16th position in the overall general classification.

Tirreno-Adriatico concludes tomorrow with a 10kilometre individual time trial in San Benedetto del Tronto.

Tirreno Adriatico stage 6 results:

1.Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) 4:34:14
2. Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) 0:00:00
3. Michael Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) 0:00:02
5. Caleb Ewan (ORICA-GreenEDGE) 0:00:07

 General classification after stage 6:

1. Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) 20:30:43
2. Zdenek Stybar (Etixx-Quickstep) 0.00.07
3. Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) 0:00.08
16. Adam Yates (ORICA-GreenEDGE) 0:00:44