Tirreno-Adriatico: Gaviria retains white in hectic finish
A crash with seven kilometers to go changed the script on Thursday, when the Colombian found himself boxed in with 500 meters to go.
A relatively short trek from Camaiore to Follonica was in store Thursday afternoon, when Tirreno-Adriatico continued with stage 2, one for the sprinters. The unchallenging profile inspired just three men to book a place in the escape – Alexander Foliforov (Gazprom-RusVelo), Jacopo Mosca (Wilier Triestina) and Guy Sagiv (Israel Cycling Academy) – and they quickly opened a 7:30-gap which the peloton began to reduce only after the first hour of racing.
Le Samyn victor Niki Terpstra took over pace setting duties inside the final 100 kilometers and put in a massive amount of work, cutting the break's lead to under three minutes, before other teams sent riders to the front and brought their contribution to the chase, overhauling the trio on the second of the three laps the bunch had to cover in Follonica, a stage finish in the past at Giro d'Italia, but a new-entry in Tirreno-Adriatico.
With seven kilometers to go, a big crash in the peloton held up more than 30 riders, including Bob Jungels, who was brought back thanks to an incredible ride of Ronde van Vlaanderen winner Philippe Gilbert, who didn't spare any effort in making sure the Luxembourg Champion's GC aspirations were kept intact at the end of the day.
Alone in the sprint, after experienced lead-out man Maximiliano Richeze hit the ground in that incident, Fernando Gaviria got boxed in by several riders as he was trying to get out on the right side of the road and open his powerful sprint, and had to settle with seventh place, same time as stage winner Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin); despite the obvious disappointment of not getting to fight for a third career victory at Tirreno-Adriatico, Gaviria found some solace after the stage.
"It was one crazy final, with lots of people fighting for position and throwing elbows elbows. I tried to come out, but was closed on both sides and there was nothing left to do. On the plus side, I felt good today, am happy with the legs I have and with the work of my team, who I'll try to repay over the next days, when the stages don't suit me", said the 23-year-old Colombian, who continues to top the white jersey classification at the "Race of the Two Seas."
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele/ Getty Images