Ivan Santaromita's Overall Ambitions Safe After Tirreno-Adriatico Stage TwoThu 13 Mar 2014
With help from his ORICA-GreenEDGE teammates, Ivan Santaromita finished safely in the bunch on stage two of Tirreno-Adriatico. The Italian Road National Champion is aiming for a strong showing on the overall classification in his home country’s early season stage race. He currently sits rounds out the top ten overall, tied on time with his teammates Simon Clarke (7th), Daryl Impey (8th), Svein Tuft (9th), Michael Hepburn (11th), Luke Durbridge (12th) and Cam Meyer (13th)
Although he finished outside the top ten, Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) retains the blue leader’s jersey following the bunch kick in Cascina. Matteo Pelucchi (IAM) was the surprise winner of the scrappy sprint, beating Arnaud Demare (FDJ.fr) and André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) to the line. Clarke was the top finisher for ORICA-GreenEDGE on stage two, slotting into 24th place.
The early action was dominated by a five rider breakaway. Daniel Teklehaimanot (MTN-Qhubeka), Marco Canola (Bardiani-CSF), Alex Dowsett (Movistar), Davide Malacarne (Europcar) and David de la Cruz (NetApp-Endura) jumped up the road in the opening kilometres. Their advantage topped at 4’30 over the Omega Pharma – Quick-Step led field. Dowsett was the last man standing, caught just inside the final ten kilometres.
“For us today was about staying out of trouble,” said Sport Director Matt White. “It was a beautiful day – really warm and not much wind. The first break attempt was the right mix of riders, and once the break went, the race was pretty well controlled by the sprinters’ teams.”
“The final circuit was hectic,” White added. “Things often get dangerous in the sort of circuits we had today. Everyone was fresh for the finish, and we saw a few crashes.”
Although every effort was made to stay safe in the bunch, Santaromita found himself in a spot of bother when riders went down in front of him. He managed to keep his bike upright but was unable to avoid a chain reaction from those behind him.
“Ivan was stopped by the crash,” White explained. “He got hit from behind and fell flat on his face. We had four guys wait for him to get him back to the bunch. They caught on inside the last five kilometres.”
As the sprint trains fought for control in the final circuit lap, another crash took out pre-race favourite Marcel Kittel (Giant Shimano). The German had no chance of regaining contact with the bunch and watched the possibility of a stage win ride away from him up the road. Following the crash, Lotto Belisol, FDJ.fr, Lampre-Merida, Tinkoff-Saxo and Cannondale massed toward the front of the bunch. Although Pelucchi lacked team support in the final kilometre and was late to open the sprint, none of the big name sprinters could match the acceleration he unleashed in his dash for the line.
While stage three may look tame on paper, the sprinters will have their work cut out for them on Friday over the four finish circuit laps. Each lap includes a one kilometre cobbled climb that averages 11% in gradient. Riders that expect to contend at Milan-Sanremo in ten days time will fancy their chances here.
“The main priority is looking after Santaromita,” said White. “If we’re in a position to have a go in the final, we’ll certainly do that – but we don’t have any one rider specifically targeting the stage tomorrow.”
Editor's note: Jens Mouris was mistakenly left off results from stage two. He finished with the bunch.