Greg Van Avermaet has continued BMC Racing Team’s success at Tirreno-Adriatico, taking the win on Stage 6 in a nail-biting sprint and claiming the leader’s jersey in the process.
Van Avermaet found himself in an eight rider breakaway with 22km to go and eventually it was he and Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) who went head to head in the sprint.
“It was a really nice finish for me as it was a little bit uphill. When I saw the parcours I knew it was a good stage for me. We tried to go for the bonus seconds on the first lap of the circuit and then we kept on going. The riders from Tinkoff and Etixx-Quick-Step worked really hard together to keep the gap on the peloton and I could save myself a little bit because we had Tejay van Garderen and Damiano Caruso behind us,” Van Avermaet explained.
“I just tried to go as hard as possible in the sprint and it was just enough to beat Sagan. It’s hard to beat him so I’m happy I could do it. I know I’m strong in a finish like this and I timed my sprint pretty well.”
“I’ll try to do a good ITT tomorrow but it’s not my specialty. I’m in good form and I hope to do a good time. It’s a bit strange that I’m up here on GC for Tirreno-Adriatico but we have the opportunity so I will try to go for the win here.”
Van Avermaet now faces one last battle to retain the leader’s jersey on Tuesday with a flat 10km ITT through San Benedetto Del Tronto.
Van Garderen Caught in Crash
It was a day of mixed results for BMC Racing Team as alongside Van Avermaet’s victory, race leader Tejay van Garderen was caught in a large crash with 5km to go and lost time.
It was a domino effect of riders going down that left him with a broken spoke and needing a wheel change, van Garderen explained.
“Luckily I didn’t go down but I had to take a wheel change and couldn’t quite get back with the peloton. Taylor Phinney and Alessandro De Marchi did a great job of trying to pace me back but sometimes that’s just how it goes,” van Garderen said.
“I’ll stay motivated and focused for the ITT tomorrow. Hopefully Greg can record a really good one. It would be amazing for him to win Tirreno-Adriatico. I don’t think anyone would have predicted this as the situation we would be in at this stage of the race with the events of yesterday and now today. But at the end it’s a huge success and I’ll stay focused for tomorrow and for the rest of the season.”
BMC Racing Team Sports Director Valerio Piva said the team will make the most of the current race situation.
“One one hand, we are very, very happy with the victory and the race lead of Greg but on the other hand we are disappointed because we had the chance to finish with three guys in the top five. Now of course we have the race lead and we’ll try to defend this position tomorrow.