The real fight started this Friday in Tirreno-Adriatico. Towards Valle Castellana, the climbers finally found suitable terrain, with a long climb about twenty kilometers from the finish. Jonas Vingegaard took advantage of it to win solo. As for Romain Grégoire, he fought nicely in the second chasing group and took tenth place on the stage. He now sits in the same position overall before the summit finish planned on Saturday.

After an individual time trial and three sprints, it was time for the Tirreno-Adriatico general classification to get clearer on Friday, in stage 5. Much shorter than the previous ones (144 kilometers), it featured, however, the climb of San Giacomo (12 km at 6%) with 24 kilometres to go. A proper battle between the best climbers was anticipated, but the fight actually was on the whole day in the Abruzzo. Although the break went early, especially with Clément Davy, alongside Filippo Ganna, Alessandro De Marchi, Magnus Cort, Andrea Vendrame, Kasper Asgreen, Simon Clarke, Ivan Garcia Cortina, Damien Howson and Niccolò Bonifazio, the bunch started to chase early on. “The start was nervous,” explained Yvon Caër. “Clément joined the break a bit later, but we quickly realized that Visma-Lease a Bike was not going to let it happen since there were strong guys up front. They gave a maximum lead of 2’30 and really wore the breakaway down throughout the day. It was a proper WorldTour pace. We understood that the breakaway was not going to make it, but Clément had a great day up front. He even surprised us because it was quite hard at times, but he handled this break well. He could have been a support for Romain if they had taken more space, but they were caught at the bottom of the climb, so he could not provide any help.”

“I did a better climb than I expected”, Romain Grégoire

On the hilly terrain, the pack left no chance for the leaders, who indeed began the climb of San Giacomo just thirty seconds ahead. “The pace even before the climb was incredible,” testified Romain Grégoire. “We got there already kind of tired.” Jonas Vingegaard’s teammates continued to push hard, and everything came back together. The peloton also went into pieces from the bottom, but Romain Grégoire and Valentin Madouas were still there halfway through the climb. However, a few minutes later, Jonas Vingegaard launched an attack, and the race blew apart. The Dane went solo straight away, and Romain Grégoire held on to the second chasing group on the road. “Romain did a very good climb,” said Yvon. “He couldn’t catch the Ayuso group because they are a bit more climbers than him, and it was a twelve-kilometre climb, but it was interesting to see Romain on this type of profile.” The Frenchman crossed the summit thirty seconds behind the leaders’ group, and 1’30 behind Vingegaard. “I did a better climb than I expected given how I felt at the bottom,” he said. “I then hoped to be able to come back on the downhill. I think I could have made gaps on my immediate competitors overall, because I was in a group of 6/7 at the bottom, but a lot of riders came back in the last, flat ten kilometers.”

In the final, Vingegaard sealed his victory as the gaps increased. The Groupama-FDJ rider eventually took third place from his group, tenth of the day, 2’52 behind the double winner of the Tour. He then barely retained his place in the top-10 overall (10th at 3’02). “In the end, I’m still on schedule for the top-10 goal that I set for myself, and everything remains to be done tomorrow,” added Romain. “It’s a good omen for tomorrow,” Yvon also said. “The goal is to secure the top 10, or even gain a place or two. Today, he finished just behind the very best.” On Saturday, the peloton will face Monte Petrano (10 km at 8%) for the summit finish. The Groupama-FDJ cycling team will however start without Lorenzo Germani, forced to abandon on Friday as he didn’t feel 100% after a recent illness.

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