Tirreno Adriatico Stage 5 Preview
Alexey Lutsenko won one of the most dramatic stages in recent times today, outsprinting Primoz Roglic, Adam Yates and his teammate Jakob Fuglsang in a quartet sprint after having crashed with 15Km to go and again with 1.5Km to go, after an impressive 35Km solo move. The day had dangerous attacks from very early on and the gaps at the finish were significant between groups, putting Roglic and Yates in a more isolated position to fight for the final victory.
The day started off with a 10-rider break including Power (Sunweb), Stuyven (Trek), Mas Bonet (Movistar), Maestri (Bardiani), Peters (AG2R), Burghardt (Bora), Rosskopf (CCC), Neilandts (Israel), Visconti (Neri) and Biermans (Katusha) who, due to Mitchelton not wanting to work, got to a 9-minute gap, and although the stage distance there was already doubts wether it would fall for the break. Eventually Sky and Jumbo-Visma took control of the race and started to quickly chop down the gap.
The gap came down as the kilometers ran by, with Jumbo-Visma putting on the chase when the peloton got to a short but very techincal descent where disaster struck them. With some apparent dirt or sand on the road, in all separate occasions we saw Tony Martin and Laurens de Plus hit the deck in a matter of seconds. Ian Boswell, Silvan Dillier and Nico Denz also reportedly crashing, with only the American abandoning right away after he had lost consciousness after his fall.
In the Monteguiduccio climb the race blew apart. Simon Clarke and Alexey Lutsenko attacked as the breakaway was caught. Initially Dumoulin and Roglic answered, marking each other. A slight regrouping occured and Lutsenko attacked once again, without any answer this time. Dumoulin, Roglic, Yates, Formolo, Fuglsang, S.Clarke and Wellens were left in the chasing group after the climb. Although a brief collaboration the peloton behind had a lot of firepower and brought back the group on the first passing at the finish line, with Lutsenko solo leading with 50 seconds at that point.
Richard Carapaz who wouldn't be able to keep up with the pace of the chasing group still had a massive power output in the climb, sustaining that power for 3:21 acording to Velon.
Davide Formolo was the sole attacker on the first Il Capuccini climb, although no damage was caused the output was immense, with 7.6W/Kg for 2:03 minutes, cracking the group to half and leaving the chase deorganized. In the descent Lutsenko had a minor crash but mantained his gap with a superbly ridden pace over the climb and flat.
In the chasing group it was unsurprisingly Roglic to open up the hostilities. Fugslang and Yates went with him, and Roglic paced the whole climb with the duo on his wheel, and despite putting them in dificulties he didn't manage to gap them. The gap was just 15 seconds on the top of the climb. It remained until Lutsenko crashed in the final corner of the descent again. He waited up for the chasing group that, led by Roglic until the last few meters, opened up the sprint, where amazingly a battered and bruised Lutsenko was the fastest.
More power data information will be posted on twitter later in the day, including Lutsenko's. Make sure you stay updated!
Stage 5 will present the last GC challenge that isn't against the clock. This stage the mileage will be smaller for many riders' relief, but that doesn't mean it'll get any easier, actually it may get even harder. The first 90Km of the stage will be relatively flat, an unusual site in the week, but starting from there there'll be a major change in the order.
This is the circuit the riders will face for 4 laps. Chances are there will be some DNF's today after such a hard period of days, the brutal gradients found in past stages will have it's continuation, as the circuit features two walls in it. Firstly we have the Salita S.Pietro, a 3Km at 6.8% topping in a suffocating 20% ramp. Not even 2Km later there's another uncategorized climb that will weight on everyone's legs, a fast descent will then lead to the final climb of the day.
The Recanati climb's fiercest gradients will come in the form of 1.2Km at 13.9% topping 1.8Km away from the finish, needless to say that 4 rides over this climb will be an immense task no matter how the race is ran. The finish is a familiar site in the race, not in the location as it's debuting, but this kind of finish atop an old city requires some skill, it's not unusual for cobblestones and technical corner to be present, which is to be expected in the finale. The final 1.8Km are relatively constant at a 3% gradient, so it'lll be a case of a dash to the line after a maximal effort, where the strategies will surely be modified by the fact that it's the last chance to make a difference before the final day.
Who can we expect to see?
Today's stage was a beating to the legs of everyone, for Lutsenko on the literal side, but after today's stage we must look at him again for tomorrow. Astana depleted all the damage, and if we look at tomorrow their strategy should be the same, Lutsenko is the ideal rider for this type of move and Fugslang confirmed it was a worthy effort as he leapfrogged to 8th, catching up on lost time in the opening stage.
Roglic though looked the strongest. 3 of his teammates today affected by crashes/pain, but Gesink stepped up and provided him with the much needed support. Tomorrow should suit him even more and he is a given leader, and his form was again proven to be spotless. He is perhaps the biggest favourite. Leader Adam Yates has probably been a bit under the radar with such drama, but he stuck with Roglic and that's exactly what he has to do. Flyweight climber, should also prosper in tomorrow's walls, he should have a bigger buffer than 7 second over Roglic so we may also see him in the offensive tomorrow.
Alaphillipe can't handle multiple climbs as the previous that's a given fact. With the stage attacked so early it wasn't a surprise to see him lacking the legs to follow Roglic, and tomorrow should hurt him even more. He looked flawless until today but his weak spot was attacked and tomorrow it will certainly be hit again. Unlike Davide Formolo who also looked very strong in all the climbs, maybe tomorrow he can take advantage and sneak off the front if there's too much strategical play between the top overall riders.
There are lots of riders who can equally get a top result, but will be harder to consider them for the win, like Dumoulin, Poels, Simon Clarke and Bettiol from EF, Lotto duo Benoot and Wellens
⭐ Dumoulin, Poels, S.Clarke, Benoot, Wellens, Pinot
My money is on Roglic for tomorrow. He attacked the climb, paced all of it, chased on the descent, lead-out the sprint and still managed 2nd. His form and power are almost innequable and tomorrow with his team up from today's bad luck he should be able to use his climbing skills to best use, and possibly move into blue.
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