“The Race of the Two Seas” headed East on Wednesday, towards Foligno. Despite some hills along the way, nothing could prevent the expected massive sprint from happening. After a tortuous final, Jasper Philipsen took the victory while Jake Stewart could not really get involved in the sprint. On Thursday, the hilly terrain should suit the Groupama-FDJ team more.

A very long stage awaited the riders on Tirreno-Adriatico this Wednesday. Between Follonica and Foligno, no less than 216 kilometres were on the menu before a probable bunch sprint. This however did not discourage four men from going to the front in the first minutes: brothers Davide and Mattia Bais (Eolo-Kometa), as well as teammates Stefano Gandin and Alessandro Iacchi (Team Corratec). “It was pretty much a copy-paste of yesterday’s stage”, said Thierry Bricaud. “We only expected a slightly more nervous and dangerous finish, because we knew it could be windy. Apart from that, the scenario was similar on a long stage of nearly 220 kilometres. Therefore, not much happened, except for the last hour and a half which was a little more tense”. At the head of the race, Gandin and Iacchi sat up after crossing the various climbs, which left the Bais brothers alone in the front. However, they did not keep on going for long as the bunch came back very early in the stage, nearly seventy kilometres from the finish line.

“The final should suit Thibaut and Valentin tomorrow,” Thierry Bricaud

The peloton then progressed at a relatively steady pace but without any real highlights until the last ten kilometres. On a portion exposed to the crosswind about fifteen men formed a small echelon for a few minutes. “A lot of sprinters and GC riders were behind, so we knew the bunch would organize and chase them back”, said Thierry. “We also knew there would be a headwind in the final, but Quentin still went to pull so that everything could be back to normal”. Jake Stewart first made his return to the front of the race with a handful of men, then the whole bunch came back three kilometres from the line. The expected sprint could therefore take place. “It was a rather special sprint, a proper Italian one, with several turns in the final”, added Thierry. “Jake was a little isolated and it was difficult for him to go for a good sprint”. Too far from the head of the peloton at the flamme rouge, the Englishman finished just outside the top-20. On Thursday, a three-kilometre climb averaging 7% will conclude the stage on Tirreno-Adriatico. “We’re coming on much more hilly courses from tomorrow, with a final that should suit Thibaut and Valentin,” concluded Thierry.

No comment