As in recent years, Lido di Camaiore hosted the opening stage of Tirreno-Adriatico on Wednesday. A sprint was supposed to conclude this first day on the Race of the “Two Seas’’. Eventually, after 156 kilometers of quiet racing, Wout van Aert claimed the win. All the Groupama-FDJ’s riders finished inside the bunch.

There actually were some climbs on the opening stage of the 2021 edition of Tirreno-Adriatico. However, they were all located in the first part of the race. The climb of Pitoro was thus to be covered three times, and a breakaway including Jan Bakelants (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert), Simone Velasco (Gazprom-RusVelo), Guy Niv (Israel Start-Up Nation), Vincenzo Albanese, Samuele Rivi and Davide Bais (EOLO Kometa) systematically did before the bunch. “It was quite an easy day, as we had imagined this morning,” Sébastien Joly said later. “We knew we didn’t have much to go for today, as we were 99% sure it would end with a bunch sprint. A breakaway went, and as you might expect, the sprinters’ teams that were interested in the victory took control. As for us, we were protecting Valentin today, but it was also quite easy. The idea was more to calmly get started today, without too much pressure”.

“There will be a little more action tomorrow”, Sébastien Joly

Because the sprinters’ teams, and especially Caleb Ewan’s Lotto-Soudal, did not take any risk, the breakaway never enjoyed more than a 3-minute gap on Wednesday. With forty kilometers to go, the gap even went down to one minute and the peloton then played a little on the final circuit of Lido di Camaiore. However, the last men standing in the breakaway had to surrender before the last ten kilometers and the various lead-out trains then took command. At the finish line, Wout van Aert won the sprint while the entire Goupama-FDJ finished in the same time as the Belgian. “We had no interest in going to fight for position in the final, especially since for a few years now, there is this three-second rule,” added Sébastien. “Even if there is a small gap, there is a very low risk of split, especially on this kind of finish with very little wind. As a result, it was pretty quiet, even at the finish. Then, the riders went straight back to the hotel by bike, and that will allow them to have a good recovery tonight”.

The race’s outcome might be different on Thursday, with an uphill finish in Chiusdino (7.5 km at 3.5%), near Siena. “Serious things will really start tomorrow,” concluded Sébastien Joly. “It’s going to be a little more interesting and there will be a little more action. It will also be the first small test for our team”.

No comment