Ewan sprints to second on stage three of Tirreno-Adriatico

Fri 11 Mar 2016

21-year-old Australian sprinter Caleb Ewan took second place for ORICA-GreenEDGE today with Fernando Gaviria (Etixx-Quickstep) claiming the victory as stage three of Tirreno-Adriatico finished with the expected high-speed sprint.

ORICA-GreenEDGE took the initiative early on in the stage with Canadian Svein Tuft controlling things from the front of the peloton for more than 150 kilometres.

“Svein put in a massive shift today, hats off to him," said sports director Matthew White. "He was up there all day and along with Etixx-Qickstep we were the only two teams taking responsibility out there.” 

Ultimately the work the team put in was worth it as Caleb came in second and was close to finishing it off.

“We expected more wind in the approach to the finish but that wasn’t the case and it was a really fast finale.”

White continued by saying.

“Overall it was a good day and solid performance by the team, we positioned ourselves well throughout the day and kept our two climbers safe for the coming stages.”

How it happened:

Castelnuovo Val di Cecina provided a stunning setting for the start of stage three, high above the plains of Pisa. From kilometre zero the riders headed straight onto the winding incline out of the valley and into cold winds and bright sunshine.

The days breakaway of five riders formed within the first ten kilometres and developed a lead of 4:30” over the peloton. ORICA-GreenEDGE, along with Etixx-Quickstep, conscious of the fact that today’s stage provided the only real opportunity for a bunch sprint, moved to the front of the peloton to limit the advantage of the break. After 75kilometres of racing the time gap was down to 3:30”.

The day’s solitary categorised climb to Scansano arrived after 100kilometres of racing. The breakaway, now down to four riders, increased their advantage by another minute over the peloton motivated by the points on offer for the intermediate sprint and the mountains classification. With the time gap down to four minutes diesel engine Svein Tuft led the peloton onto the climb continuing his long turn at the head of the group.

Content to let the break keep their advantage of three minutes for the next few kilometres of rolling road the peloton, still lead by Tuft, crested the uncategorised climb of Manciano preparing for the long descent towards the environs of Montalto di Castro.

With 20kilometres left to race the advantage of the breakaway began to fall rapidly with ORICA-GreenEDGE continuing to set the pace at the front of the main bunch. With the course now predominantly a descent with a flat final run in, Luke Durbridge took over duties at the head of the peloton and the esapees were finally caught with just under two kilometres remaining.

The approach to the finish through the town centre of Montalto di Castro was pan flat with a slight incline up to the line in the last hundred metres. As the leaders hit the town the last 500 metres of the parcours snaked viciously towards the finale with the leading teams fighting for position. Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) was prominently placed at the front of the pack, however with Gaviria latched onto his wheel and Ewan arriving from the right it was not going to be the world champion’s day.

Sagan accelerated and Gaviria jumped into attack along with Ewan. With 100metres to go to the line it was a closely contested sprint by two of the fastest young riders in the world. On this occasion it was not to be Ewan’s day and Gaviria beat him to the line by half a bike length.

Race leader Zdenek Stybar (Etixx-Quickstep) finished safely in the main bunch and retains the blue leader's jersey for stage four.

Stage four of Tirreno-Adriatico takes place tomorrow and is the longest of this year’s race. With the teams racing 222 kilometres along a hilly route from Montalto di Castro inland to Foligno.

Tirreno-Adriatico stage three results:

1. Fernando Gaviria (Etixx-Quickstep) 4:17:28
2. Caleb Ewan (ORICA-GreenEDGE) 0:00:00
3. Elia Viviani (Team Sky) 0:00:00


General classification after stage three:

1. Zdenek Stybar (Etixx-Quickstep) 9:51:18
2. Damiano Caruso (BMC Racing) 0:00.09
3. Daniel Oss (BMC Racing) 0:00:09
21. Adam Yates (ORICA-GreenEDGE) 0:00:34