The 2nd stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico was won by Zdenek Stybar (Etixx-Quickstep). Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) was 2nd and Edvald Boasson Hagen came home in 3rd position for our African Team.
It was a long 207km stage from Camaiore to Pomarance with the first 140km of the stage being mostly flat. A 6 rider breakaway animated this portion of the race by riding themselves into a 5-minute lead. BMC Racing were the team controlling the pace making from the peloton.
The final 60km of the stage was when things started to get interesting as the peloton reached some more undulating terrain. The gap came down as expected but the peloton was strung out over the climbs. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka were looking to our Norwegian champion, Edvald Boasson Hagen, to have a go for the stage win and so he was always well positioned up at the front of the race.
As the riders reached the final 10km of the stage, the break were caught but the peloton had shattered. A small group of around 35 riders started the final climb together, which would summit with 3km to go. Reinardt Janse van Rensburg set the pace on the climb and followed a few accelerations to keep the group together for Edvald.
A big attack by Movistar shed a few riders just as the lead group crested the climb but it was the counter attack by Stybar that would pay dividends. The Etixx rider only had a maximum lead of 10 seconds but it was all he needed to stay ahead of the select group.
After following the surge made by the Movistar rider, Boasson Hagen tried to recuperate as best he could for the sprint finish and managed to cross line just behind the World Champion, Sagan, to take the final podium position of the stage.
It was a fast stage but I was comfortable throughout the day. I started the last climb in a good position but I didn’t feel super good at the top so I didn’t try an attack but I should’ve attacked just after the climb. I tried to save as much as I could for the sprint and I did a good sprint at the finish but we weren’t close enough to catch Stybar. It was a pity in the end but there are still more stages to come.
Edvald Boasson Hagen – Rider
The stage pretty much went exactly as we thought so we were happy with our preparation. It was just a matter of getting into the crucial parts of the race together and Edvald and Reinardt were there. We wanted Edvald to attack on the climb because that is how we thought he was going to win the stage. He put a big effort in on the climb but it was Stybar who went over the top of them that made it count. For Edvald to still come back and do such a good sprint after his effort was impressive. If you look at the podium, Stybar, Sagan and Edvald Boasson Hagen, we have to be proud of the result but with the results our guys have got this year, we have almost got so used to winning that we were almost disappointed with a 3rd place in a World Tour race. It’s a nice place to be in, feeling like that at this stage of season, but we are really striving for the victory.
Roger Hammond – Sport Director