Tirreno-Adriatico #5: “We gambled but it didn’t work out”

Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka had a clear plan lined up at the beginning of today’s stage but the peloton had other ideas.

With its 210 km and numerous steep ‘walls’ for the riders to overcome, stage 5 of Tirreno-Adriatico was nearly impossible to predict the outcome of. On paper, a breakaway seemed to have good chances of making it all the way and this made for a very hectic start.

After multiple attempts to get away, a very strong group of 11 riders finally managed to distance the peloton. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka had both Steve Cummings and Scott Thwaites in the group. Unfortunately, the peloton didn’t let the break get too much of a gap and with 75 km to go, it was all back together again.

From here on out, several riders attacked but no one succeeded in getting the needed gap to win the stage. Instead, it all ended in a sprint within a very select group on the uphill finish in Fermo. Peter Sagan (Bora – Hansgrohe) took the win, while Nairo Quintana (Movistar) kept the blue leader’s jersey. Cummings finished 41st on the day with Edvald Boasson Hagen crossing the line just a few places down as number 45.

Roger Hammond – sports director:
“We wanted to try to win the stage today and we knew that our best chance of doing so was with a rider winning from a breakaway. There were big gaps in the GC so the chances of a group, without any GC riders in it, going up road were pretty good and that’s essentially what happened. With Steve and Scott in the break, we were really looking forward to a good day. However, the beauty of cycling is that you can’t predict what’s going to happen next. You can’t predict that some teams will self-destruct themselves just to bring back a breakaway that’s 14 minutes down on the GC. But that’s life. We gambled and, even though it was a good gamble, it didn’t work out”.