The second and last mountain stage of Tirreno-Adriatico starts from Ortona and ends in Chieti on 10th March, Sunday and favors Peter Sagan more than anybody else. Expect a bunch sprint from a select group shaped on the ascent and descent of Passo Lanciano.
Last year, it was Peter Sagan outsprinting Roman Kreuziger, Vincenzo Nibali and some other GC riders in the final meters. In 2010 and 2011, Michele Scarponi won the stage but Sagan was in Paris-Nice that time instead. Only Joaquim Rodriguez can have a chance against Sagan if he keeps up with the front group on the descent.
It will be an interesting day for GC qualification as well. Michal Kwiatkowski is a very good time-trialist in GC standards so if he keeps the “Maglia Azzurra” at the end of the day, the 22-year-old Polish may very well grab his first World Tour title.
Last 2 climbs before Ultimo KM
SKY proved once again how strong their team is, it was BMC that led the peloton to the footsteps of Prati Di Tivo, then SKY took the lead with Sergio Henao, Dario Cataldo and Rigoberto Uran respectively to carry their leader Chris Froome to the top; ignoring the attacks from Alberto Contador only by keeping their pace high.
We saw Cadel Evans and Joaquim Rodriguez losing contact with the front group; and just before the final kilometers, it was down to 7 riders. Froome, with 1 kilometer to go, made the attack no one could respond to and won the queen stage of this year’s Tirreno-Adriatico.
“I’m really happy with that victory, it was a really good day for us,” told Froome. “I only ended up doing a kilometer in the wind myself. It really was an armchair ride. My team did great work. They all helped me to be up there in the finale and fresher than everyone else.”
Michal Kwiatkowski of Omega Pharma-QuickStep, despite finishing the stage in 4th place, thanks to OPQ’s astonishing TTT in the first stage, now sits on top of GC. Another OPQ rider, Mark Cavendish still leads the points classification and will wear the red jersey.
GC after Stage 4
1. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 16:04:59
2. Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 4″
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 16″
4. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 30″
5. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling 33″
6. Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack Leopard 40″
7. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia 55″
8. Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Spa) Movistar Team 1′ 04″
9. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 1′ 16″
10. Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha
Stage 4 Results
1. Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 04:41:31
2. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia 6″
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 11″
The queen-stage of Tirreno-Adriatico between Narni and Prati Di Tivo on 9th March, Saturday will be the real duel between the general classification contenders.
The same riders in the field today, seeking a stage win in Prati Di Tivo were also present in Tour of Oman this year. It was Joaquim Rodriguez winning the Green Mountain stage, Chris Froome with 4 seconds behind grabbed the yellow jersey and kept it later on; Cadel Evans came third 22 seconds behind and it was Alberto Contador and Vincenzo Nibali with 30+ seconds behind finishing 4th and 5th.
Green Mountain is a 10%, 6 km climb with sectors reaching 18%, Prati Di Tivo is a 14.6 km with 7.1% average climb, 12% at max. It can be a bit hard for Rodriguez to attack in the final kilometer or sprint in the last meters this time, but still we’ll have to wait and see to find out who is in better form.
Last year, it was Vincenzo Nibali winning, 16 seconds ahead of Roman Kreuziger in the snow-capped hills of Prati Di Tivo. It will be the day Mark Cavendish says goodbye to Maglia Azzurra and the GC race gets shaped.
Final Climb – Prati Di Tivo
3 teams are invited as wildcard entries besides the 19 pro tour teams; Vini Fantini-Selle Italia from Italy, Team NetApp-Endura from Germany and MTN Qhubeka from South Africa.
There will be quite some interesting competition from the likes of Alberto Contador, Joaquim Rodriguez, Chris Froome and last year’s winner Vincenzo Nibali for the blue jersey. Mark Cavendish, Andre Greipel, Peter Sagan, Fabian Cancellara, Taylor Phinney are amongst the several names that can win a stage or two in here.