Kwiatkowski takes Tirreno lead

24 Mar 2018

Kwiatkowski takes Tirreno lead

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Michal Kwiatkowski rode his way into the race lead at Tirreno-Adriatico following a strong third place on stage five.

The Pole battled it out on a tough finishing circuit in Filottrano, eventually finishing amongst an elite group of overall contenders. Bonus seconds for third were enough to ensure the Team Sky rider pulled on the Maglia Azzurra with a three second lead.
Once again Team Sky demonstrated strength in numbers across the 178-kilometre stage. Hitting the front to ensure the race came back together ahead of the third and final ascent of the Muri di Filottrano, Kwiatkowski was ideally placed along with teammate Geraint Thomas.
Sixth on the stage saw Thomas also jump up a place on the leaderboard to fourth overall, 29 seconds behind his teammate. Chris Froome was unlucky to puncture with 5.6km to go ahead of the run-in, while Vasil Kiryienka did strong work to pull the race back together 11km from home. 
Thomas followed the moves as the final attacks began, but no one was able to follow the acceleration of Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) who pushed clear to take a solo victory by seven seconds. 
Despite overnight leader Damiano Caruso (BMC Racing) also finishing in the chasing pack, Kwiatkowski was able to turn a one-second deficit into a slender three second lead, with two days still to race.

After the stage Sport Director Nicolas Portal talked about how the team's GC plans have evolved during the race, and how the riders approached another tough stage.

He said: "In our plan we started out with four riders to protect. The plan was always to protect G and Froomey, and to keep Kwiato and Gianni in contention. We knew with four top guys sometimes you can use these cards and readdress the situation.

"It's not something you want to do but yesterday that's what happened. G was super strong but he had a mechanical issue. It's put him just out of the fight for victory. But Kwiato is not here by luck, he's here because he's strong and this morning he was second on GC, one second behind Caruso.

"The plan was for him to just follow the main GC teams. We wanted to support Kwiato to see if he could take some bonifications. We know he's fast and he knows how to handle his bike on a tricky circuit like this. When it's raining it's good for him too. We know every second will count ahead of the time trial.

"G did a good job too and he tried to follow the move of Yates. That was also a plan so Kwiato didn't need to ride. Froomey did a good job until he had his puncture. Everyone did well today - because yesterday was a hard stage for us. Today is a good a good payback for the guys."

Stage five result:
1. Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) 4:16:35
2. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) +7”
3. Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) s.t.
4. Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal) 
5. Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First-Drapac)
6. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky)
Overall standings:
1. Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) 21:31:28
2. Damiano Caruso (BMC Racing) +3”
3. Mikel Landa (Movistar) +23”
4. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) +29”
5. Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First-Drapac) +34”

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