Nairo Quintana was the first rider across the snow covered finish-line on the 5th Tirreno-Adriatico stage. Bauke Mollema (Trek Factory Racing) was 39″ behind the Colombian with Rigoberto Uran (Etixx – QuickStep) a further 9″ back.
With the stage finishing atop the 16.1km Terminillo climb, it was always going to be a battle of the GC riders today. There was an early break of 7 riders which got a maximum lead of 8 minutes, but despite their best efforts the GC teams had the final say on the finishing climb. Michele Scarponi (Astana) was the last of the escapees to be caught as the eventual stage victor, Quintana, soloed passed the Italian with 3.5km to go.
In the earlier action on the slopes of the Terminillo, there was a whittled down group of 25 riders that would tackle the final 5km together. Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung had both Steve Cummings and Louis Meintjes as part of this select group. It was at this point that Quintana attacked his rivals and would not be seen again, partly due to the time gap he opened up but also due to the poor visibility caused by the heavy snowfall.
The chasers attacked each other one by one but their efforts were in vain until Mollema got away in the final 2km. Steve and Louis were under pressure over the final few kilometers but Stevo would hang tough to finish in 11th on the stage, keeping 9th position on the overall classification.
Steve Cummings – Rider
The lead up to the climb was pretty regular. All the guys are going well so they were all up there protecting me and giving me the support throughout the stage. Edvald was even with me for the first 5km’s of the climb today as well. I tried to ride a clever race on the climb, not following the small climbers attacks but rather measuring my effort and just trying to stay in contact. I think it worked out well in the end. We have a good chance for the stage win tomorrow and the guys are super motivated so this is our next objective before I try empty the tank on the final time trial.
Jens Zemke – Head of Performance
It were pretty tough conditions at Tirreno-Adriatico today with snow covered roads for the final 5 kilometers. It was an exciting stage and we can be happy with our African team as Steve Cummings still sits in the top 10, close to the 2nd place on GC. We can be happy with the performance.