Mark Cavendish won the penultimate stage of Tirreno-Adriatico today after a fine tactical display from his Omega Pharma-Quick Step teammates.
Cavendish sprinted across the line solo ahead of his pilot Alessandro Petacchi and Peter Sagan (Cannondale).
Key rivals Andre Greipel (Lotto Belisol) and Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) were not in the mix at the end of the 189km run from Bucchianico to Porto Sant’Elpidio.
Cannondale ensured Kittel was dropped inside the last 40km setting a furious pace on the final climb of the day before the flat finishing circuit. The quadruple Tour de France stage winner Kittel was supported by four teammates and made a valiant though unsuccessful attempt to rejoin the main group.
Lotto Belisol contributed to the pace making with Cannondale as Omega Pharma-Quick Step smartly bided its time in the pack.
Cavendish’s teammates started to move up with 15km to go and avoided a crash in the final 2km that took out Greipel’s key lieutenants and forced both the German and Sagan to close a gap to the Quick Step train. The duo did but it took a toll and Greipel, clearly fatigued, did not have the legs to contest the sprint.
“To get the lead-out technically perfect like we did we’re super, super happy with that,” Cavendish said.
“It would have been nice to sprint against Kittel and Greipel but we’ll celebrate tonight.”
Manxman Peter Kennaugh (Sky) was in the main break of the day that included Jack Bauer (Garmin-Sharp), Steve Morabito (BMC) and Cesare Benedetti (NetApp-Endura).
The latter was dropped with some 20km remaining and Kennaugh sat-up inside the last 14km. With 10km to go the last two escapees were caught before the peloton squashed a late attack from Philippe Gilbert (BMC).
The race concludes tomorrow with an individual time trial. Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) has a handy buffer in the overall standings.
Tirreno-Adriatico 2014, stage six: Bucchianico to Porto Sant’Elpidio, 189km
1. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma-QuickStep 4-16-15
2. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Omega Pharma-QuickStep
3. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale
4. Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ.fr
5. Tony Hurel (Fra) Europcar
6. Robert Wagner (Ger) Belkin
7. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) MTN-Qhubeka
8. Bartosz Huzarski (Pol) NetApp-Endura
9. Mark Renshaw (Aus) Omega Pharma-QuickStep
10. Davide Appollonio (Ita) Ag2r La Mondiale
Overall classification after stage six
1. Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo
2. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 2-08
3. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo at 2-15
4. Julian Arredondo (Col) Trek at 2-39
5. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale at 2-40
6. Mikel Nieve (Spa) Sky at 2-50
7. Daniel Moreno (Spa) Katusha at 2-51
8. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r La Mondiale at 2-56
9. Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Katusha at 2-58
10. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Trek at 3-06