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Tirreno-Adriatico mid-race review

Although somewhat overshadowed by Paris-Nice, which overlaps with it for five of its seven days and tends to attract more of the big Grand Tour contenders, Tirreno-Adriatico – the ‘Race of the Two Seas’ which runs between the Tyrrhenian and Adriatic coasts – nonetheless attracts more than its share of big names. In addition to heads of state such as Andy Schleck (Leopard-Trek), Cadel Evans (BMC), Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale) and Robert Gesink (Rabobank), its lumpy but not excessively mountainous route makes it a magnet for the top Classics specialists. The Garmin-Cervélo pair of Tyler Farrar and reigning world road race champion Thor Hushovd are both present here, as are Philippe Gilbert, Fabian Cancellara and Tom Boonen.

With four out of seven stages completed, here is a quick summary of the race to date.

Lars Boom took the first blue jersey of the race

Stage 1: Marina di Carrara, 16.8km team time trial

First out of the starting gate, Rabobank set a benchmark time of 18:08 over the 16.8km team time trial course which no one could subsequently beat, giving Lars Boom the honour of wearing the blue race leader’s jersey. Boom had already led last month’s Tour of Qatar after winning the prologue there.

Garmin-Cervélo were second fastest, nine seconds behind Rabobank, while HTC-Highroad and Saxo Bank-Sungard were ten and eleven seconds off the pace respectively. A strong Liquigas line-up including Basso and Vincenzo Nibali was a surprising 22 seconds behind the leaders.

Result:

1. Rabobank 18:08

2. Garmin-Cervélo +0:09

3. HTC-Highroad +0:10

4. Saxo Bank-Sungard +0:11

5. Liquigas-Cannondale +0:22

Farrar won stage two and claimed the overall lead

Stage 2: Carrara to Indicatore (Arezzo), 202km

Taking advantage of a powerful lead out by road race World Champion Thor Hushovd, Tyler Farrar claimed a comfortable win in a bunch sprint after a three-man break had survived for 180km. The American finished ahead of Alessandro Petacchi and J J Haedo. The ten-second bonus he gained for winning the stage was enough to catapult him into the overall lead.

HTC-Highroad’s Mark Cavendish lost touch on an earlier climb and was unable to contest the finish.

Result:

1. Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervélo) 4:56:06

2. Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-ISD) same time

3. J J Haedo (Saxo Bank-Sungard) s/t

4. Mark Renshaw (HTC-Highroad) s/t

5. Marcel Sieberg (Omega Pharma-Lotto) s/t

Haedo beat Farrar to take stage three

Stage 3: Terranuova Bracciolini to Perugia, 189km

Euskaltel-Euskadi‘s Daniel Sesma made a long solo break, pulling out an advantage of ten minutes before the peloton reeled him in to set up a bunch sprint in Perugia. J J Haedo edged out the previous day’s winner Farrar. Again, Farrar had a powerful lead-out from Hushovd, but the Norwegian showed a touch of inexperience by going too hard too soon, leaving his teammate struggling to maintain his wheel, rendering him vulnerable to Haedo’s well-timed burst.

The HTC pair of Cavendish and Mark Renshaw were split by Hushovd’s final kilometre acceleration, meaning the former was too poorly placed to contest the sprint.

Result:

1. J J Haedo (Saxo Bank-Sungard) 4:39:45

2. Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervélo) same time

3. Daniel Oss (Liquigas) s/t

4. Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-ISD) s/t

5. Mark Renshaw (HTC-Highroad) s/t

Scarponi won in Chieti for the second year in a row

Stage 4: Narni to Chieti, 240km

At the end of a long, undulating, six-hour day, the finish in Chieti featured a closing climb of nearly two kilometres with ramps of up to 19%. Michele Scarponi, who won in Chieti and finished second overall last year, attacked at the bottom of the hill and maintained his lead right to the end. Damiano Cunego made it a Lampre one-two, holding off Cadel Evans at the line. Ivan Basso and Danilo di Luca ensured that four Italians finished in the top five.

Rabobank’s Robert Gesink was sixth, 12 seconds behind Scarponi, but nonetheless moved into the overall lead, ten seconds ahead of Evans.

Result:

1. Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) 6:10:59

2. Damiano Cunego (Lampre-ISD) same time

3. Cadel Evans (BMC)  s/t

4. Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale) + 0:02

5. Danilo di Luca (Katusha) + 0:06

General classification:

1. Robert Gesink (Rabobank) 16:35:10

2. Cadel Evans (BMC) + 0:10

3. Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale) +0:12

4. Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) + 0:15

5. Damiano Cunego (Lampre-ISD) +0:19

Link: Steephill.tv

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About Tim
Father of three. Bit of a geek. That's all, folks.

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