Fight, perseverance, sacrifice, progression and also bad luck
56th Tirreno Adriatico
Stage 3: Monticiano-Gualdo Tadino (219 km)
The longest stage, the most intrepid adventure. And the eternal battle between the fierce peloton and the brave riders who seek to explore their chances of glory by overtaking other riders’ strongholds. The marathon day of this edition of the Tirreno Adriatico ended in a sprint, but until that finish the protagonism fell to a breakaway of five riders that was formed in the first five kilometres and expired with three kilometres to go. The EOLO-KOMETA Cycling Team did not miss its appointment with the fight. This Friday it was the young neo-professional Davide Bais who rode in the breakaway. The Rovereto’s rider, very active, climbed first the Poggio della Croce and passed first in the intermediate sprint of Umbertide. In a breakaway for more than 200 kilometres, with a peloton that was launched, he was caught in the final ten kilometres.
Bais was a reflection of the constancy and attitude with which the Contador Foundation ProTeam faces each day. He rode in a breakaway with Mark Padun (Bahrain), Tobias Ludvigsson (Groupama – FDJ), Guillaume Boivin (Israel) and Niki Terpstra (Total Direct Energie). The five of them were up to nine minutes ahead. A gap that invited to dream, although the peloton made it clear that it was eventual when, before the mountain pass, increased its pace in a stretch where the wind blew more intensely. Vincenzo Albanese suffered on that stretch, temporarily cut off, and also suffered on the climb. Two days in the breakaway weighed heavily on his legs, but the leader of the mountains was able to return to the discipline of the big group and will be back in green on Saturday’s main day.
Padun, Boivin and Terpstra persevered in their offensive in front of a peloton where the tension was mounting. A crash at the front eliminated Manuel Belletti from the fight for the sprint. Although he crossed the finish line, Belletti was to undergo several tests to rule out any major injury. Among the 47 riders who fought for the victory, which went to Dutch rider Mathieu Van der Poel, was once again Alejandro Ropero. Another step forward for the young Andalusian cyclist. “It has been a day of great suffering”, resumes Ropero.
Vincenzo Albanese: “Today was a very difficult day for me: in my head, more than in my legs. Of course, the fatigue of these last two days was felt, the stage was very long, and when there were still 130 kilometres to go the group began to push on the gas. That’s when I got demoralised and started to pull away because I gave up on the lead. But I held on, Zanatta was on the radio and he helped me not to give up, and the more kilometres passed the more I felt good: when I saw the banner of the last kilometre it was like a liberation. I’m happy to still have the green jersey on my shoulders, I’m happy with the day of the team that once again was the protagonist with an important breakaway of Bais who left together with very strong riders”.
Davide Bais: “My task today was to take the day’s breakaway, it was very hard but I managed to get away with some very strong riders. In fact, we always went at full throttle, we didn’t spare a metre and they only managed to catch me with 10 kilometres to go. When I arrived at the motorhome I heard about Manuel’s crash, he was very unlucky”.
… And then it was time for the queen stage. This Saturday, a high finish in the Tirreno. A few years ago, the Race of the Two Seas did not have such a finish, but in recent times it has included in its menu more mountainous days with a high finish. This year’s edition concludes in Prati di Tivo, a winter sports resort in the Apennines at an altitude of less than 1,500 metres. The day is not very long, less than 150 km, but it will certainly be demanding due to the presence of several more climbs on the route. In addition to Prati di Tivo, the Passo Campannelle (1299 m) is also a scoring climb, fourteen kilometres of ascent at an average of 4.% followed by almost 30 km of descent before the final climb, another 14 km at an average of 7%. But there are other climbs, which are not on the points list and are probably of lesser importance, but not for that reason not slopes to be managed, which mark the route, such as La Forca di Arrone or the Sella di Como.
[📷 PhotoGomezSport (1, 2), La Presse (3)]