World Champion Cadel Evans launched an aggressive attack for the overall classification at Tirreno-Adriatico today in Colmurano, Italy. Though out-foxed by Italian Enrico Gasparotto in a four-man fight, Evans gained enough time to move into fourth overall.
"It was good," BMC's Evans told Cycling Weekly, "but I am working my way towards the Giro and I am not as good as some."
Evans was as good, though. He played cool on the final 850-metre climb, but noted classification leader Michele Scarponi (Androni) was suffering. Evans took advantage of Scarponi on a steep 20 percent grade with 1.2 kilometres to race. He attacked to chase down Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone), who had just caught escapee Gasparotto.
"Scarponi was just incredible yesterday, but when I saw him in difficulty today I had to take advantage of it," Evans continued. "That compromised my chance to win a stage, of course, but when you can get someone like Scarponi on the ropes you got to hit him with whatever you can. I saw Scarponi in difficultly and I thought, 'If I can just make an acceleration.'"
Evans, unfortunately, had Gasparotto's team-mate and Strade Bianche winner, Maxim Iglinsky, for company. They both bridged and the tactics shifted in Astana's favour.
"I had Garzelli and Gasparotto lined up there for the finish, but I looked under my shoulder and I had another Astana guy. I thought, 'What am I going to do here.' I can stop and play for the stage and get caught by everyone, or try to continue and take time on Scarponi."
Evans attacked at 800 metres remaining, but Iglinsky chased him down and Gasparotto readied himself for the sprint after 217 kilometres. Gasparotto in first, Garzelli second, Iglinsky third and Evans fourth, but with an eight-second advantage on Scarponi.
Scarponi's day was a rough one. He topped the day's major climb in the main group behind Marco Pinotti (HTC-Columbia), but then he crashed on the descent. With his right wrist hurting, he had a long fight to the line and the vultures were circling.
"The way Diquigiovanni rode at the start today, I thought there would be nothing we could do but they really fell apart there with a crash on the descent. They don't look quite as solid as I first expected."
Evans ride moved him from eighth to fourth overall, 18 seconds behind Scarponi, with one more mountain day to fight.
"We started the race, knowing there was no time trial, just three big mountain stages. We know we have to take every second," sports director John Lelangue told Cycling Weekly.
"We want to ride a good Tirreno, because we made a voluntary decision to come here and not to Paris-Nice. Everything can happen tomorrow."
Britain's Roger Hammond (Cervelo) finished 46th on the stage, two minutes and 37 seconds behind Gasparotto. Hammond is Britain's top-placed rider overall in 61st, 23 minutes and 49 seconds adrift of race leader Scarponi.
Tirreno-Adriatico 2010, stage five: Chieti-Colmurano
1. Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Astana 216km in 5-32-22
2. Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone
3. Maxim Iglinskiy (Kaz) Astana
4. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team at same time
5. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo at 8secs
6. Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank
7. Manuele Mori (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini
8. Michael Rogers (Aus) HTC-Columbia
9. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
10. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Colnago-CSF Inox at same time.
46. Roger Hammond (GB) Cervelo at 2-37
82. Ian Stannard (GB) Team Sky at 24-05
124. Mark Cavendish (GB) HTC-Columbia at 28-09
149. Jeremy Hunt (GB) Cervelo at 28-09
Overall classification after stage five
1. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli in 23-40-44
2. Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone at 10secs
3. Maxim Iglinskiy (Kaz) Astana at 15secs
4. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team at 18secs
5. Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank at 27secs
6. Michael Rogers (Aus) HTC-Columbia at 29secs
7. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Colnago-CSF Inox at 29secs
8. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo at 31secs
9. Leonardo Bertagnolli (Ita) Androni Giocattoli at 48secs
10. Manuele Mori (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini at 53secs
61. Roger Hammond (GB) Cervelo at 23-49
118. Ian Stannard (GB) Team Sky at 58-13
132. Jeremy Hunt (GB) Cervelo at 1-06-51
157. Mark Cavendish (GB) HTC-Columbia at 1-25-56
Stage four: Scarponi's mountain stage win timed to perfection
Stage three: Bennati crowns a great day for Liquigas
Stage two: Boonen wins sprint and becomes San Remo favourite
Stage one: Gerdemann is back, and with good timing
Farrar watching Cavendish ahead of Milan-San Remo
Cavendish getting better but still not that confident
Tirreno-Adriatico 2010: The Big Preview
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