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Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) sailed through the final stage of the 2023 Tirreno-Adriatico to claim the overall victory as Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) sprinted to his second stage win of the race.
A hectic run-in after circuits of San Benedetto del Tronto proved tricky for the lead-outs but after a surge from Filippo Ganna (Ineos) in the final kilometre, none other than Mathieu van der Poel found a clear lane to line out the riders and so deliver Alpecin-Deceuninck teammate Philipsen to the sprint win over Dylan Groenewegen (Jayco-AlUla) and Alberto Dainese (Team DSM).
Two sprint victories at Tirreno-Adriatico secured Philipsen a role as a contender for next Saturday’s Milan-San Remo.
“We managed to be in a really good position thanks to all the motivation we had from the previous sprint stage – we knew we were able to do it again. The team and Mathieu again did an amazing job,” Philipsen said.
It was touch and go for the sprinters as a persistent eight-man breakaway held off the peloton until three kilometres to go. A series of turns and tightening roads squeezed out Intermarché-Circus-Wanty and Soudal-Quickstep’s Fabio Jakobsen, while last year’s stage winner Phil Bauhaus (Bahrain Victorious) came up too late to finished fourth.
Safely ensconced in the peloton, Roglič won the overall classification and mountains classification and so lifted the spectacular trident winner’s trophy for a second time in his career. He also won the points classification.
João Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) finished second overall at 18 seconds, with Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos Grenadiers) third at 23 seconds.
How it unfolded
Wilco Kelderman (Jumbo-Visma), Alexey Lutsenko (Astana Qazaqstan), and Steff Cras (TotalEnergies) did not start the final stage, a 154-kilometre circuit around the hills and then the seafront of San Benedetto del Tronto.
The early climbs inspired an attack and Nans Peters (AG2R-Citroën), Mikkel Honore (EF Education-EasyPost), Bruno Armirail (Groupama-FDJ), Valentin Ferron (TotalEnergies), Lorenzo Fortunato (Eolo-Kometa), Samuele Zoccarato (Green Project-Bardiani), Arthur Kluckers (Tudor) clipped off the front after a few kilometres and gained a minute on the peloton.
On the sole classified climb of the day, the Cossignano at kilometre 23, Henri Vandenabeele (Team DSM) put in a huge effort and successfully bridged the gap, making it eight riders at the head of the race.Cristian Rodriguez (Arkea-Samsic), Jan Stöckli (Corretec) and Andreas Leknessund (DSM) also tried to scramble across but never made it.
Soon after as the leaders had a gap of around 90 seconds, Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) crashed and opted to pull out of the race.
The maximum gap of 3:32 came on an uncategorized climb with 90 km but the sprinters’ teams were not going to let their lead get out of control. Despite the eight riders working smoothly together, Soudal-Quickstep worked steadily to shrink their advantage.
By the time the race hit 20km to go, the gap had dipped below 20 seconds but the escapees were not giving up and drew out their lead to over 25 seconds. The bell rang for the final lap 14.6km to go and a lack of cohesion in the peloton gave the escapees another dozen seconds and their chances rose briefly.
A small rise with seven kilometres to go punished the breakaway and their lead fell to 12 seconds as Jayco-AlUla got organised and brought the attackers within sight. However, no team seemed to want to finish them off and a continued concerted effort from Peters, Kluckers, Armirail et al, kept a seven-second advantage with just four kilometres remaining.
The peloton’s shape went from square to pointy thanks largely to Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers), who came to the fore and finally put the breakaway riders out of their misery with three kilometres left to race.
The catch inspired Cofidis to take the lead before a tricky chicane and a narrowing of the route. Then it was Intermarché-Circus-Wanty battling for the lead but Ganna again came to the front to stretch out the peloton ahead of a tight squeeze.
Van der Poel dived past the Hour Record holder in the final turn and kept going at full speed to line-out the peloton and so set up Philipsen perfectly. When Philipsen jumped, he had the speed and power to hold off Groenewegen and so take his second win of this year’s Tirreno-Adriatico.
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