The 2nd stage of Tirreno-Adriatico ended in the expected bunch sprint, the victor however was somewhat unexpected. Matteo Pelucchi (IAM Cycling) was able to get the better of all the big names today and claim his first victory of the year. Arnaud Demare (FDJ.fr) was 2nd with Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) 3rd.
The early action in the race saw a 5 rider break go clear inside the first 10km of racing. Daniel Teklehaimanot from Team MTN Qhubeka p/b Samsung got away with Alex Dowsett (Movistar), Marco Canola (Bardiani), Davide Malacarne (Europcar) and David De La Cruz (Netapp-Endura).
The former African Champion from Eritrea rode strongly with his breakaway companions and they were able to stretch their lead out to 6 minutes over the peloton at one point. With all the top sprinters present though, it was going to be really tough for the break to succeed today. Omega Pharma – QuickStep was in control of the bunch for the majority of the day and nearer to the end of the stage, Lotto-Belisol and Giant-Shimano assisted with the chase.
Dowsett put in a last ditch effort, attacking the break with 30km to go but with 8km to go the race was brought back together by the sprinters teams. There was quite a big crash inside the final 15km with a number of riders affected. One such rider was the Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung GC rider, Sergio Pardilla. The Spaniard took quite a hard tumble and was sent to hospital. Luckily Pardilla has not broken anything and should start the stage tomorrow.
The final sprint was extremely fast and chaotic. A lot of fighting for position ensued as no one team could really get their leadouts organised. Eventually FDJ.fr had some sort of control with 2km to go. Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung were riding for Gerald Ciolek but unfortunately the German rider got caught out of position leaving the young Kristian Sbaragli to have a go for the African team. Sbaragli impressed by finishing 10th.
“Today we were working for Gerald with me trying to set him up in the final km. In the end I was in a good position and Gerald was a bit too far back so I tried to get involved in the sprint. It was a good result for me but I know the team can get a better result this week. I’m feeling quite good so we will try to improve on today now.” the Italian sprinter said after the stage.
Sports Director Jens Zemke was pleased with Sbaragli’s sprint. “Kristian got a top 10 today. That is a very good sprint from our youngster in his home race. The stage in general though was good,” continued Zemke. “Daniel put up a fantastic fight in the break, even finishing 2nd in the mountain classification today. Sergio was in quite a bad crash in the last kilometres. We sent him to hospital but luckily nothing is broken,” said Zemke.
Stage 3 gets underway tomorrow when the riders leave from Cascina and ride the 210km to the finish in Arezzo. The stage is also expected to finish in a bunch sprint.
Tirreno-Adriatico (Italy) – (March 12-18/WT)
Sergio Pardilla (ESP)
Gerald Ciolek (GER)
Andreas Stauff (GER)
Ignatas Konovalovas (LTU)
Jay Thomson (RSA)
Jaco Venter (RSA)
Daniel Teklehaimanot (ERI)
Kristian Sbaragli (ITA)
Staff: Jens Zemke (Sports Director), Manel Lacambra (Sports Director), Dr Jarrad van Zuydam (Doctor), Dr Rob Child (Doctor-Nutritionist), Bastian Buffel (Soigneur), Hagen Bernutz (Soigneur), Paolo Baldi (Soigneur) Jim Bryan (Mechanic), Daniele Nieri (Mechanic), Andreas Beck-Watt (Mechanic), Stevie Christaens (Mechanic)