Tirreno Adriatico 2018 – Stage 5 Preview

By David Hunter

Castelraimondo – Filottrano 178km

This stage is dedicated to the memory of Michele Scarponi.

This looks like one for the puncheurs. Not a huge amount of climbing in the stage and we end with a lap circuit, with three ascents of a short climb.

Lap Circuit

The main difficulty for the riders is 800m at 11.8%, once over the most difficult section, it road continues to rise, but only on the final lap. On the other laps, you can see we have a flat section between the climbs.

Once under the flamme rouge, the riders are faced with slopes of 5%. This isn’t steep enough for the climbers, but they need to be positioned well to ensure they don’t lose any seconds if the bunch gets split.

Weather

There could be a shower, but nothing to worry the bunch. Wind won’t have an impact either.

Tactics

BMC and Bora will be very keen to chase the morning break and set up a grandstand finish on the last climb. I can’t see anything else happening.

Contenders

Peter Sagan – a brilliant finish for the world champion. The start of the year always sees Sagan slowing picking up form, but he does like to win too. With Milan-Sanremo less than one week away, Sagan would love to cross the line first. The finish isn’t too hard for him and he starts as the man to beat.

Greg Van Avermaet – one of the few men in the world that is confident going up against Sagan. GVA has a brilliant uphill sprint, no way does he feel inferior to Sagan. BMC will try and position him well, but this doesn’t always happen. He needs to start the final climb in the front positions, if he does, he has a big chance of beating Sagan.

Sonny Colbrelli – after a brilliant performance in Omloop, Sonny can go into this stage with some confidence. Bahrain are a team that are really starting to grow on me, they prepare the finale of a stage in tremendous fashion. Given his speed, the others will be worried about Colbrelli and they’ll hope to distance him before the finishing line.

Fernando Gaviria – QuickStep are spoiled for options, they have Gaviria and Gilbert. Looking at the finish, I don’t think it’s too hard for the Colombian. He hopes to become a great rival to Sagan and Van Avermaet, this is an important moment for him. The 800m at 11% is the most important section for Gaviria, if he gets over that in a good position, he’ll challenge for the win.

Michal Kwiatkowski – after a series of unfortunate events, the former world champion now sits just 1 second behind the race leader and in a tremendous position. He is more than capable of finishing on the podium and taking bonus seconds, moving him into the race lead. Is he capable of winning the stage? Yes he is.

Jasper Stuyven – Trek should go with the Belgian. It’s unlikely he’ll win, but he should be up there challenging with the best.

Sacha Modolo – he’ll be challenging for the top 10.

Tiesj Benoot – the boy can do everything! Given his current form, this is another stage he can win. The sky’s the limit for Benoot. The other riders will now be starting to worry about the youngster.

Oscar Gatto – this is an important stage for Astana, they want to in for Scarponi. Looking at their team, Gatto is their best option. Brilliant in Omloop, he possesses a brilliant uphill sprint. The problem could be the 11% ramp, before we start to head up to the finish. If he gets dropped, Lutsenko will take over from him.

Davide Cimolai – very good in an uphill sprint, but the 800m at 11% should take the sting out of his kick.

Nathan Haas – hasn’t been making friends this year. He’s already managed to offend Adam Hansen and now JJ Lobato. Given his win in Oman, this should be a stage for him to compete against the best. The problem he’ll have is that we really do have the best here, and he isn’t one of them. Should be challenging for the top 5, but I can’t see him beating Sagan and GVA.

Prediction Time

This will be an amazing finish, as we have the best in the world here. It really has to be between Sagan and Van Avermaet. I think I’ll side with the world champion, a win for Peter Sagan.

*Overall Preview

David Hunter

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