Tirreno-Adriatico: Alaphilippe on the attack
The lumpy 170km stage 3 got off to a rather uneventful start, six men booking a place in the breakaway as soon as the flag was waved. The attackers worked well together and built a comfortable advantage over the peloton, but as soon as the road went up, the chasers increased the tempo and gradually reduced the difference before putting an end to the escapees’ adventure at the front with 40 kilometers to go.
At the intermediate sprint outside the small town of Amelia, two men – including the defending champion – rode away from the peloton to get the bonus seconds, and were quickly joined by Julian Alaphilippe and one other rider. A short glance over the shoulder convinced the quartet to keep pushing and soon their advantage grew to almost 30 seconds, an unexpected move that sounded the alarm in the peloton.
Several teams keen on having the stage end up in a bunch sprint combined forces and chased hard to reduce the gap to the strong attacking group, which continued to make it difficult for the pack, who reeled them in only on the outskirts of Terni. Alaphilippe decided that his work wasn’t over and stormed to the front at 2km to go, with Kasper Asgreen in his wheel. The Ronde van Vlaanderen winner took over before the flamme rouge and produced one of his trademark long lead-out for Davide Ballerini, who once again contested the sprint and finished just outside the top 10 as Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) grabbed the victory.
Remco Evenepoel enjoyed a quiet day in the bunch and continues to sit second in the overall rankings and top the youth classification, despite his lead having been cut to three seconds consequence of that intermediate sprint.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele / Getty Images