Tirreno Adriatico Stage 4: Chris Froome attacks late to win stage and move second on GC

Team Sky rider takes queen stage of this year's race, Michal Kwiatowski takes over lead from OPQS team mate Mark Cavendish

by Simon_MacMichael   March 9, 2013  

Tirreno Adriatico 2013 logo

Team Sky's Chris Froome has won the queen stage of the 2013 Tirreno Adriatico at Prati di Tivo and move second on GC with a decisive late attack, having earlier refused to panic after Alberto Contador of Saxo-Tinkoff went on the offensive. He now lies second on GC, four seconds behind Omega Pharma-Quick Step's Michal Kwiatowski, who finished fourth today to take over the race lead.

Approaching the flamme rouge, it appeared that Froome, still supported at that point by Team Sky colleague Rigoberto Uran, had a big task ahead of him if he was to catch the three men ahead of him on the road. Contador had attacked ahead of an intermediate sprint with a little under half of the 14.6 kilometre climb still to go, but the group swiftly reformed.

The Spaniard went again with two and a half kilometres left, and this time Astana's Vincenzo Nibali and Mauro Santambrogio of Vini Fantin-Selle Italia responded. Froome, however, kept his cool, riding his own tempo behind Uran before putting in a lightning-quick burst of speed with a little under a kilometre to go to surge past his rivals and cross the line ahead of Santambrogio, with Nibali third.

Kwiatowski finished fourth and swaps the best young rider's white jersey for the maglia azzurra of race leader, replacing his Omega Pharma-Quick Step team mate Mark Cavendish.

“I’m really happy with that victory it was a really good day for us," reflected Froome afterwards. “I only ended up doing a kilometre in the wind myself. It really was an armchair ride. To have the guys there who were with me on the climb – Rigo [Uran], Sergio [Henao] and Dario [Cataldo] – to have them pulling for me when guys like Nibali and Contador are attacking is a really good feeling.

“I think everyone was hurting up at the top there," he went on. "I had a little bit left to go in that last k and that was down to the work that was done by the rest of the guys during the day.

“It’s going to be a tough fight. Kwiatkowski is maybe a surprise leader but he’s definitely shown that he’s got the form to be up there in that leadership position. It’s going to be hard to prise that off him but we’ll take it one day at a time and do everything that we can.

“There is some great momentum behind the team at the moment with the guys doing so well at Paris-Nice," added Froome.

"There’s a great buzz around the team and we want to try and carry that along. There’s a really great feeling over here and morale is high. Watching the guys do the business in Paris-Nice yesterday [when Richie Porte won the stage and took the leadership of the GC] just motivated us all the more to do what we did today.”

With that big ascent looming at the end of the 173 kilometre stage from Narni - 14.6 kilometres at an average gradient of 7.1 per cent, hitting 12.1 per cent in places and with 22 hairpin bends to be negotiated - expectations that battle would be joined between the big name GC riders in a star-studded field were fulfilled. 

Ahead of that long final climb, BMC Racing, the team of 2011 winner Cadel Evans, had led the peloton down the preceding descent. Immediately the road headed uphill, however, Team Sky deployed their by now familiar tactic of moving to the front to set a high tempo that sought to discourage attacks from Froome's rivals.

The four men who had made up the day's breakaway started the climb with an advantage of a little over a minute and a half's advantage over the main group, and one by one they were picked off, Tomasz Marczynski of Vacansoleil-DCM the last man swept up after Astana's Fredrik Kessiakoff, Francesco Failli of Vini Fantini-Selle Italia and Anthony Roux of FDJ had all been caught.

Even on the early part of the ascent to Prati di Tivo, Andy Schleck's miserable start to the 2013 season continued as he lost contact with the GC group, the RadioShack-Nissan rider dropped even before the likes of team mate Fabian Cancellara and Cannondale's Peter Sagan.

By the time the front riders were halfway up that final ascent, the group had been whittled down to nine riders, three from Team Sky, with the Colombian pairing of Uran and Sergio Henao still riding in support of Froome. Contador and Nibali were also there, but Evans and Rodriguez had been dropped.

The latter managed to get back across with the help of Katusha team mate Daniel Moreno, but would not figure in the finale, and instead it was Froome who underlined, as he had done in the Tour of Oman last month, just why he is said to be the rider Contador most fears.

Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 4 result

1.  Chris Froome            Sky
2.  Mauro Santambrogio      Vini Fantini-Selle Italia  at  6"
3.  Vincenzo Nibali         Astana                     at 11"
4.  Michal Kwiatkowski      Omega Pharma-Quick Step    at 13"
5.  Chris Horner            RadioShack-Leopard         at 15"
6.  Alberto Contador        Saxo-Tinkoff               at 15"
7.  Rigoberto Urán          Sky                        at 20"
8.  Wouter Poels            Vacansoleil-DCM            at 43"
9.  Joaquim Rodríguez       Katusha                    at 43"
10. Roman Kreuziger         Saxo-Tinkoff               at 58"

Overall standings after Stage 4

1.  Michal Kwiatkowski      Omega Pharma-Quick Step
2.  Chris Froome            Sky                        at  4"
3.  Vincenzo Nibali         Astana                     at 16"
4.  Alberto Contador        Saxo-Tinkoff               at 30"
5.  Rigoberto Urán          Sky                        at 33"
6.  Chris Horner            RadioShack-Leopard         at 40"
7.  Mauro Santambrogio      Vini Fantini-Selle Italia
8.  Jonathan Castroviejo    Movistar                 at 1:04
9.  Roman Kreuziger         Saxo-Tinkoff             at 1:16
10. Joaquim Rodríguez       Katusha                  at 1:16

11 user comments

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Another day another headline spoiler from road.cc... I'm gonna have to stop using the website Sad

posted by si4star [37 posts]
9th March 2013 - 17:11

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Perhaps a cycling website isn't the best place to be visiting if you want to avoid the result of a bike race...?

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posted by Simon_MacMichael [7849 posts]
9th March 2013 - 17:30

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Beefy Bertie says he fears no-one except Froome.
Be afraid - be very afraid.
(or order some more of those special steaks)

posted by Some Fella [707 posts]
9th March 2013 - 17:51

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Contador looked distinctly human in today's race. But then he did likewise in the first half of the Vuelta, before picking up speed towards the end. I suspect he knows the days are long gone when be could dope himself up to the eyeballs from the first race of the season until the last time trial of the Tour de France (and then, as he did at his peak, do nothing for the rest of the year just in case he got busted he could minimise the ban.) So, whatever technique he is using is reserved for when he really needs it.

Whether Sky's marginal gains can explain why Froome can be so dominating so early in the year, I don't know.

posted by ubercurmudgeon [168 posts]
9th March 2013 - 19:20

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"It’s going to be hard to prize that off him..."
I guess Froome, an articulate young man, was actually saying it's going to be hard to prise the jersey off the current leader. Please give him his due.

posted by rookybiker [28 posts]
9th March 2013 - 21:56

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rookybiker wrote:
"It’s going to be hard to prize that off him..."
I guess Froome, an articulate young man, was actually saying it's going to be hard to prise the jersey off the current leader. Please give him his due.

Lesson there is to proofread the team press release Wink

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posted by Simon_MacMichael [7849 posts]
9th March 2013 - 22:20

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Simon_MacMichael wrote:
Perhaps a cycling website isn't the best place to be visiting if you want to avoid the result of a bike race...?

You're dead right, but www.steephill.tv manages it without my spoilers Smile just a suggesting hidden inside a rant Smile

posted by si4star [37 posts]
9th March 2013 - 22:22

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si4star wrote:
You're dead right, but www.steephill.tv manages it without my spoilers Smile just a suggesting hidden inside a rant Smile

Steephill's a great site, use it myself, but we have much more of a news focus, so result will be in the headline. Best avoid immediately after stage if you don't want to see who won Wink

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posted by Simon_MacMichael [7849 posts]
9th March 2013 - 22:53

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How strong is Kwiakowski in a TT? Could be good day for Sky!

posted by 02curtisb [55 posts]
10th March 2013 - 2:22

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His speciality is TT and he took the prologue at last year's Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen, ahead of Rogers and Dowsett. So I imagine Froome will want to put some time into him tomorrow on the climbs.

posted by ontheroad [9 posts]
10th March 2013 - 3:51

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Ubercurmudgeon - good post, good points.

Pastaman

posted by pastaman [206 posts]
10th March 2013 - 21:17

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