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"We came here to Tirreno to try to do a good GC but it's not possible to be 100% here in preparation for the Giro, so Cadel now has to refocus for the next stage race like Pais Vasco and Trentino then he needs to build his conditio...

Photo: Sirotti






17.03.2014 @ 11:01 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

For the second day in  a row, Cadel Evans (BMC) finished far behind the best in a Tirreno-Adriatico mountain stage but his team remains confident that he will reach his best form for the Giro d'Italia. Instead of chasing personal succes, he chose to work as a super domestique for his young teammate Ben Hermans in yesterday's tough stage.


A puncture stalled Ben Hermans's chase of the leaders Sunday at Tirreno-Adriatico and the BMC Racing Team rider remained 17th overall with two days of the race to go. Departing Amatrice, a steep wall of a climb in Guardiagrele awaited the peloton 192 kilometers later. Only 600 meters, the climb averaged 22 percent and was 30 percent at its steepest points.

Eight riders enjoyed a 12-minute lead at one point. But over the top of the penultimate climb, only three remained: David De La Cruz (Team NetApp-Endura), Simon Geschke (Team Giant-Shimano) and Ben King (Garmin-Sharp). The trio was caught with eight kilometers to go by Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Adam Hansen (Lotto Belisol).

Contador attacked out of the group that contained previous race leader Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) with 32 km to go. On his way to the leading trio, he swept up Hansen, who had been part of the original breakaway. The pair led Kwiatkowski by 3:30 topping the penultimate climb.  

King left the group of the five leaders with two kilometers to go. But Contador – with Geschke in tow – chased him down, passed him and eventually left Geschke to solo to his second consecutive stage win. Geschke was second, six seconds later and King arrived in third, 45 seconds after Contador.

Hermans had been in a group chasing the leaders on the penultimate climb, but his puncture at the bottom of the ascent to the finish was a setback. He finished 28th, 3:52 behind. 

Contador leads Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team) by 2:08 and his Tinkoff-Saxo teammate Roman Kreuziger is third, 2:15 behind. Hermans is 5:08 behind while Dominik Nerz is the BMC Racing Team's next best-placed rider in 24th, 6:31 behind.

"Unfortunately, I was dropped quickly on the long climb, so I had to ride my own pace," Hermans said. "I received help from Cadel Evans and even from Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing). Because I rode my own pace I was able to pass the other riders one-by-one. When I eventually saw Kwiatkowski riding in front of me, it gave me strength. Also, (BMC Racing Team Sport Director) Valerio Piva informed me from the team car that I was getting closer.


"When I reached the top, I went full gas in the downhill because you don't waste a lot of power there. I made a gap and I was on my way to the other group. But then I hit a rock and I had a puncture on my front wheel. I lost touch again and I had to start chasing again. Because of that, I came up short in the end."

"The team was around Ben and Cadel was working for him to bring him into a good position because he was a little bit lost at the beginning of the climb," sports director Valerio Piva said. "But with the help of Cadel, Ben came back. He made a very good chase and, at the top of the Passo Lanciano, he was not far from the group of Quintana. He was unbelievable in the downhill but then he had the puncture and was unable to catch that group.


"If you're not 100% it's difficult to recover and riders like Cadel, the leaders, they want to stay with the best but it's not easy to fight for the top 25 positions so in the morning he was thinking to get into the breakaway. But he chose to help Ben because he was not able to stay with the best riders today and he chose to work.


"If you see Contador [he] is in super top [form] but he's not going to the Giro, he's building for the Tour de France and he will have a recovery after the classics, and Cadel is different.


"It's a lot of work now for the Giro, we came here to Tirreno to try to do a good GC but it's not possible to be 100% here in preparation for the Giro, so Cadel now has to refocus for the next stage race like Pais Vasco and Trentino then he needs to build his condition for the Giro. And if he's 100% now, I don't think it's a good thing for the Giro."


You can read our preview of stage 6 here.



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