Like the last two seasons, a bunch sprint put an end to Tirreno-Adriatico on Sunday in San Benedetto del Tronto. Stage 7 of the “Race of the two Seas” was won by Jonathan Milan, while Fabian Lienhard finished just outside the top-10 (14th). Jonas Vingegaard secured his first place overall, with Romain Grégoire keeping thirteenth position, his best GC result in a WorldTour stage race so far.

The sprinters who chose to line up on Tirreno-Adriatico this week probably did well. In Italy, a fourth opportunity came for them this Sunday on the San Benedetto del Tronto circuit. Yet, they still had to come over the first sixty kilometres before a flat profile on the second part of the route. “It was bumpy and hard at the start of the stage,” confirmed Yvon Caër. “It really hurt for some, and it caused the abandons of a few sprinters.” However, there were still a lot of them in contention to make their teammates chase behind a solid breakaway made of Antonio Tiberi, Damiano Caruso, Alessandro De Marchi, Ben Healy, Georg Steinhauser and Luke Rowe. The fugitives gave the peloton a hard time, and the gap never went over two minutes. As the riders got to the flat part of the stage, the gap was even reduced to one minute to limit the risks. The duel still lasted another sixty kilometres before the pack was able to catch the leaders entering the last lap of the circuit in San Benedetto del Tronto, fourteen kilometres from the finish.

“Romain has developed and learned a lot”, Yvon Caër

No attack then disrupted the peloton’s progress towards the expected bunch sprint. “We wanted Fabian to be able to sprint,” Yvon added. “Everyone was motivated to play his part. We went further than we expected, but it was going fast, and we never managed to come together and be able to position Fabian as needed. We’ll need to work on these habits, particularly for the Giro where there will be some sprints. That said, as long as we work and get some bearings, it’s positive. Even if the result is not there today, we’re building something for the future.” After a confused sprint, won by Jonathan Milan, Fabian Lienhard had to settle for fourteenth place after entering the final straight quite far from the lead. Romain Grégoire crossed the line within the pack and secured his top-15 overall (13th). “The week’s results are positive because Romain has developed a lot and learned a lot about himself, about the week-long WorldTour races, about the leader status,” Yvon concluded. “I also think that Valentin is in good shape after this week. Those are good things to pick up from this week. We hoped for a bit better in terms of pure results, but given the competition, we have no regrets, and we gave our best.”

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