The sprinters have their day as Yates holds onto the race lead at Tirreno-Adriatico

Fri 15 Mar 2019

The sprinters had their day on stage three of Tirreno-Adriatico, with Mitchelton-SCOTT content to let the fast-men do battle while ensuring Adam Yates held onto the race lead.

It was an uneventful day for the most part with the goal of the stage to keep the Brit safe in the blue jersey and deliver him to the line without any issues.

With few chances for a sprint finish over the seven days of racing, the sprinter's teams weren’t going to pass up the chance to go for the win and it was Elia Viviani (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) who took the opportunity and the stage victory.

A long day out

The third day of racing saw an unchallenging parcours on the longest stage of the race, meaning the peloton were more than happy to see a group of six head down the road and form the day’s breakaway.

The gap stretched to a maximum of around five minutes, but that was soon capped to the four-minute mark where it stayed for the majority of the day.

There was a rare chance for the sprinters on offer at the finish in Foligno and it was UAE-Team Emirates and Decenunick – Quick-Step who committed men to the chase while Mitchelton-SCOTT kept Yates safe towards the front of the bunch.

Up in pace

With a more focussed chase, the advantage of the escapees began to fall and the gap was below a minute and a half as the race passed through the 20km to go marker.

The four escapees managed to hold the pack at bay until five kilometres to go when the sprint trains began to form with the hope of giving their sprinters a chance of victory.

Yates was being kept safe towards the head of the field while the teams with their eyes on the sprint finale battled for position. It was a technical finish with a number of corners inside the closing kilometre, but in the end it was Italian champion Viviani who came out on top on home soil, with Yates rolling home safely in the bunch to retain the race lead.

Adam Yates:
“It was a long day, but the sprinter's teams controlled it all day, so we just sat behind them and tried to save some energy.”

“In every bunch sprint there’s always the possibility of gaps but the guys guided me really well, especially in the last 20km, we stuck to the left side of the road and we stayed in a good position all the way. So great job by the team and another day in the jersey.”

“Tomorrow’s not as hard as stage five but it could be decisive so we’ll just wait and see.”

Matt White (Sports Director):
“Because of the composition of the breakaway, the highest guy on GC was at six minutes, we didn’t have any direct pressure to do anything today except look after Adam and the boys did a really good job of that.”

“The pressure was on the sprint teams to chase the break today with it being one of only two opportunities for the sprinters, and so our guys had a relatively easy day.”

“The race is going to be decided in the next two days and it will be a real classics style of racing and I’m expecting a very aggressive next two days.”

Tirreno-Adriatico stage three results:
1. Elia Viviani (Deceuninck - Quick Step) 5:26:45
2. Peter Sagan (BORA - handgrohe) ST
3. Fernando Gaviria (UAE-Team Emirates) ST
26. Michael Hepburn (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST

Tirreno-Adriatico GC after stage three:
1. Adam Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 10:37:19
2. Brent Bookwalter (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST
3. Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma) +0:07

Photos courtesy of Getty Images.