Adam Yates will head into the final day of Tirreno-Adriatico with a 25 second lead after finishing safely in the bunch on stage six. It was a case of staying out of trouble on the 195km route from Matelica to Jesei with the day ending in the expected sprint finale as Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick Step) edged out the pure sprinters on the line.
The day was billed as the last opportunity for the fast-men to have a crack at glory and there was no chance of them passing it up, despite a seven-man breakaway going clear. The seven escapees were never allowed more than three and a half minutes, with their advantage being held around the two minutes mark for the majority of the day.
The pace in the peloton was increased with two laps of the finishing circuit remaining and the gap to the breakaway began to tumble as the seven riders attacked one another. With one lap to go, just two riders were left dangling at around 40 seconds ahead of the bunch while Mitchelton-SCOTT were keeping Yates safe in the leader’s jersey at the head of the pack.
The remnants of the break were eventually reeled in with four kilometres remaining and as the race passed through the three kilometres to go marker, Mitchelton-SCOTT drifted back, allowing the sprinter’s teams to do their thing as Alaphilippe took a chaotic sprint victory.
Adam Yates: “Another tough stage, a fast one and towards the end the wind was picking up a little bit and when it’s a circuit it’s always tricky, there’s always the different direction changes and the wind could be a factor.”
“In the end it wasn’t a factor, but teams get stressed and want to hold position and there’s a big fight for the front, but we got through it in one piece, the team rode great again. Like I said yesterday and like I said from the beginning, I’ll do my best and if it’s not good enough, it’s not good enough.”
“I came here to win stages and I didn’t manage to win a stage but I got close on a couple of occasions and we’ve held the jersey for a few days now. So in my mind it’s been a good race, a good race for the team and whether or not I can hold on tomorrow, we’ll find out won’t we?”