Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin) won the 6th stage of Tirreno-Adriatico, sprinting to the stage win ahead of Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Maximiliano Richeze (Quickstep Floors). Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) retained the overall GC lead.
The 6th stage of Tirreno-Adriatico saw the peloton take on 153km from Numana to Fano. While the opening 110km were rather lumpy, the final 40km was flat and fast, suiting the sprinters. Katusha-Alpecin controlled a 4-rider breakaway for the majority of the day for their fast man, Kittel, and Quickstep also contributed for their Colombian sprinter, Fernando Gaviria.
Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka, with only 4 riders remaining in the race looked to keep Louis Meintjes protected throughout the stage and then Edvald Boasson Hagen would look at his options for the finale. As the break was inevitably caught, the big fight for positioned ensued over the final 10km and the technical finish made the peloton somewhat nervy.
Gaviria touched the wheel in front of him with 8km to go, resulting in a mass pile up. Fortunately, none of our African Team riders were involved and made it through the carnage with the front half of the peloton. The crash certainly disrupted the organisation of the finale though and Boasson Hagen was not in a position to contest for the victory.
In the end it was Kittel who got the better of Sagan on the line, this only after Sagan was one of the very riders to make it back to the peloton after the big crash, with just 3km remaining. Tomorrow will see the Tirreno-Adriatico conclude with a 10km individual time trial.
Louis Meintjes – Rider
It was another very busy stage with some rain and wind. I was just trying to survive today and once again it was quite a crazy final. I think I managed to finish close enough to the front though. Tomorrow is not really my strength and I’m not going to the win the TT but it’s good training and for gaining experience for the future. Hopefully I can hold on to the placing I already have.