Tirreno Adriatico Stage 6: Vincenzo Nibali snatches race lead on bruising day, Sagan takes the stage

Defending champion goes on attack to take leader's jersey from Chris Froome with just tomorrow's short time trial to come

by Simon_MacMichael   March 11, 2013  

Tirreno Adriatico 2013 logo

Vincenzo Nibali, winner of Tirreno Adriatico 12 months ago, looks poised to win the race for the second year running, the Astana rider  attacking towards the end of a deceptively tough stage won by Cannondale's Peter Sagan to put race leader Chris Froome in serious trouble and take the maglia azzurra.

The Sicilian finished second to former team mate Sagan, with whom he had attacked on the descent from Sant Elpidio a Mare with 17.5 kilometres left along with another of the best descenders in the peloton, Samuel Sanchez of Euskaltel. Sanchez would drop back in the final kilometres, with Sagan and Nibali joined by Katusha's Joaquin Rodriguez, who finished third.

With tomorrow's closing time trial only 9.2 kilometres long, Froome, who lost nearly a minute today, is 34 seconds behind Nibali in the overall standings and only has a remote chance of getting the race lead back.

Today’s parcours had a saw-toothed profile and comprised two 90 kilometre loops followed by a 28 kilometre circuit. It looked complicated enough on the map, but proved to be brutal on the road.

While riders including Mark Cavendish decided to sit out the stage altogether to begin preparing for Milan-San Remo, and others including Andy Schleck abandoned early on, the remainder had to cope not only with a series of sharp climbs, but also roads made slippery from rain that started falling after the day’s racing had begun.

The most imposing of today’s climbs, ridden three times, was to Sant Elpidio a Mare, where the gradient in the final 300 metres averaged 18 per cent but, at its steepest part, nudged 30 per cent.

On the second time over that summit, with 45.7 kilometres left to ride, Lampre-Merida’s Damiano Cunego was the first man across, in the process sealing his victory in the mountains competition in this year’s race.

The Italian was one of a large breakaway group that got away early on and which included big names such as Fabian Cancellara of RadioShack-Leopard, AG2R’s Rinaldo Nocentini, Movistar’s Giovanni Visconti and Blanco’s Lars Boom.

By the time the Sant Elpidio a Mare climb was tackled for the third and final time, from a different direction the GC group had swept up most of the escapees and there were just 17.5 kilometres left to ride.

The last survivor from the break, Movistar’s Benat Intxausti, was joined by three of the peloton’s best descenders on the way back down towards the finish –Nibali, Sanchez and Sagan, who had struggled on one of those earlier ascents to Sant Elpidio a Mare, zig-zagging across the road.

Behind, the field had split to pieces and race leader Froome was in trouble, as was Saxo-Tinkoff’s Alberto Contador, both isolated from their team mates, although it was the Team Sky man who was further back.

Ahead of the finish, Froome managed to get back to the second group, but the damage to his GC hopes had already been done.

One final ascent, which came 10 kilometres out, gave Joaquin Rodriguez of Katusha, winner in Chieti yesterday, the opportunity to get across to the front group, where only Nibali and Sagan remained.

The flat final four kilometres to the finish gave the trio plenty of time to work out the permutations, and it was of no surprise that Sagan took his second stage win of the week – not that Nibali or Rodriguez would have been able to match his acceleration – nor that the Astana rider was able to cross second to pick up more bonus seconds.

Tirreno Adriatico Stage 6 result

1.  Peter Sagan            Cannondale                5:46:17

2.  Vincenzo Nibali        Astana                       at 2

3.  Joaquim Rodríguez      Katusha
4.  Mauro Santambrogio     Vini Fantini                at 44

5.  Samuel Sánchez         Euskaltel-Euskadi
6.  Chris Horner           RadioShack-Leopard 

7.  Alberto Contador       Team Saxo-Tinkoff
8.  Jurgen Roelandts       Lotto-Belisol               at 50

9.  Thor Hushovd           BMC
10. Simon Geschke          Argos-Shimano

Overall standings after Stage 6

1.  Vincenzo Nibali        Astana                   27:57:26

2.  Chris Froome           Sky                         at 34 

3.  Joaquin Rodríguez      Katusha                     at 37

4.  Alberto Contador       Team Saxo-Tinkoff           at 48 

5.  Michal Kwiatkowski     Omega Pharma-Quick Step     at 58

6.  Chris Horner           RadioShack-Leopard        at 1:05

7.  Mauro Santambrogio     Vini Fantini              at 1:20

8.  Przemyslaw Niemiec     Lampre-Merida             at 2:54

9.  Andrey Amador          Movistar Team             at 2:58

10. Wouter Poels           Vacansoleil-DCM           at 3:08

15 user comments

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last 20k = why we love bike racing, edge of seat stuff

posted by NeilXDavis [111 posts]
11th March 2013 - 17:00

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^
So true.

As a Spesh fan seeing Nibali going for it was great stuff.

posted by Super Domestique [1598 posts]
11th March 2013 - 17:06

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Say it ain't so, Andy Schleck abandoned, again. Does he need stabilisers or something?

posted by boardmanrider [67 posts]
11th March 2013 - 17:12

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boardmanrider wrote:
Say it ain't so, Andy Schleck abandoned, again. Does he need stabilisers or something?

No, I think he needs to grow a pair and harden the f**k up.

posted by TheSpaniard [46 posts]
11th March 2013 - 17:32

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Ah, the Prince Phillip school of counselling. Nice Wink

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8004 posts]
11th March 2013 - 17:34

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Can Future Race Results that are being shown on tele have a Spoiler tab on Road CC That obscures the actual result until you click on it?

I was looking forward to watching this tonight as its been a good viewing so far even taking in account Dan lloyds impression of the Guy from "The Office" who walks on Camera now and again looking confused.

Thanks

posted by Dog72 [108 posts]
11th March 2013 - 18:11

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AS clearly has a problem which is far more than any issue with the inner ear or the ability to father children. I've been critical of him in the past but it clearly has a lot to do with confidence/self-esteem and the loss of his brother from his team - a team he never really wanted to be part of. He doesn't seem to react positively to people like his teams management having a dig or his Dad saying they should both quit the sport. Jesus, with a father like that, it's surprising he's got as far as he has.

Nobody has mentioned Cav or dozens of others DNFing today. You never know, AA might be keeping his powder dry for MSR this weekend. Wink

arrieredupeleton

posted by arrieredupeleton [551 posts]
11th March 2013 - 18:12

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arrieredupeleton wrote:
AS clearly has a problem which is far more than any issue with the inner ear or the ability to father children. I've been critical of him in the past but it clearly has a lot to do with confidence/self-esteem and the loss of his brother from his team - a team he never really wanted to be part of. He doesn't seem to react positively to people like his teams management having a dig or his Dad saying they should both quit the sport. Jesus, with a father like that, it's surprising he's got as far as he has.

Nobody has mentioned Cav or dozens of others DNFing today. You never know, AA might be keeping his powder dry for MSR this weekend. Wink

There were definitely a lot of DNS, and DNF due to the MSR.

It was a good race today. Well worth the look. It is interesting watching the teams deal with mid sized hills. So much harder for the teams to control. If they need to spice things up at the tour then these sorts of rides are the key. Definitely spoilt the Sky-trains dominance. Great watching pros push their bikes.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1114 posts]
11th March 2013 - 21:28

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boardmanrider wrote:
Say it ain't so, Andy Schleck abandoned, again. Does he need stabilisers or something?

On a day of so much fascinating action, this is what you found worthy of a comment?

Though, now that the topic has been broached, Andy could do well by sharing a room with Phinney for a training season. That boy showed heart today.

~rbx

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posted by rbx [243 posts]
12th March 2013 - 1:09

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I'm surprised at Acquarone apologising for how difficult the stage was. Given the tactics of Sky (which are sure to be replicated by other teams in the coming months/season) nullifying most stages, stage races need a stage like this to turn things around a bit. When it gets that steep there's nothing your team can do for you.

Also, Hushovd in 9th - I think he might have found form again in time for the classics.

posted by pjt201 [97 posts]
12th March 2013 - 10:14

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pjt201 wrote:
Also, Hushovd in 9th - I think he might have found form again in time for the classics.

William Hill had him at 80/1 for Milan-San Remo yesterday which would have been worth an each way punt... that price disappeared very quickly though.

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posted by Simon_MacMichael [8004 posts]
12th March 2013 - 10:27

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Simon_MacMichael wrote:

William Hill had him at 80/1 for Milan-San Remo yesterday which would have been worth an each way punt... that price disappeared very quickly though.

Not sure I can see past Sagan for MSR. Would expect Hushovd to show at Roubaix and Flanders though.

posted by pjt201 [97 posts]
12th March 2013 - 11:03

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pjt201 wrote:
Not sure I can see past Sagan for MSR. Would expect Hushovd to show at Roubaix and Flanders though.

True, but why bet on Sagan winning (best price 2/1, worst 11/8) when you could get at least double the potential return on an each way bet on any rider other than Sagan or Cav (6/1 second favourite) finishing top 3?

Cancellara 16/1, Pozzato 25/1, Nibali a bonkers 40/1 (so 10/1 to finish top 3) - there's some good value around.

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posted by Simon_MacMichael [8004 posts]
12th March 2013 - 11:39

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Simon_MacMichael wrote:
Ah, the Prince Phillip school of counselling. Nice Wink

Properly made me laugh out loud with that one Simon Laughing

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posted by cidermart [460 posts]
12th March 2013 - 12:16

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Simon_MacMichael wrote:

True, but why bet on Sagan winning (best price 2/1, worst 11/8) when you could get at least double the potential return on an each way bet on any rider other than Sagan...

Ah, didn't realise we were talking about gambling! I was just using the odds to think about who might win...

On a side note, are bookies taking money back off punters who bet on lance to win previous tours?

posted by pjt201 [97 posts]
12th March 2013 - 19:18

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